Is Government So Dense that It Can Not Deliver a Cheaper yet more Beneficial Alternative to Northland?
I believe yes!
Published: 8:43AM Sunday August 12, 2012 Source: Fairfax
The Government’s $12 billion roads of national significance programme is upgrading routes used by as little as 4% of the country’s traffic.
The Green Party wants the programme scaled back and says its research shows the routes carry only 400,000 of our 11 million daily vehicle trips.
Green transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said the benefits did not justify the spending.
“The spending is disproportionate to the number of trips. We are spending money on projects you are unlikely to drive on. It’s an enormous amount for a few roads that have almost no traffic growth.”
Supporters say the improved network will increase traffic flow and lead to a lift in business productivity, but Genter said the benefits would be negligible.
Transport Association chief executive Geoff Dangerfield said highways played a significant role in trade, competitiveness and economic growth.
About $50b worth of goods entered the country each year, and 92% of all freight, by weight, was moved by road.
Good on Julie-Ann Genter for continuing the question Central Government on these gold-plated road building scheme. VOAKL is supportive of Julie-Ann’s calling in getting these Roads of National (Party) Significance scaled back to projects that are more viable and actually deliver better benefits than the (again) gold-plated schemes our rather dense government is proposing.
My initial reaction to the TVNZ article was this:
I bet you a case of your favourite tipple (alcoholic or non alcoholic) that I turn the Holiday Highway into the Economic Highway using a highway recently “rebuilt” just south of us (as an example) that would deliver a better Benefit:Cost Ratio complete with bypasses and an interchange with State Highway 16 for no more than 50% of the gold plated proposal Government is proposing (rather stupidly).
That example of a highway rebuild is actually the Mangatawhiri Bypass opened a few years ago which carries State Highway Two traffic around the Mangatawhiri black-spot which had at least a few deaths a year on that road. You can see the “bypass” HERE on Google Maps (and please do zoom in and take a close look) with the follow description on the bypass here (from Wikipedia): The section of SH 2 through Mangatawhiri had a poor crash record, and the seven-kilometre Mangatawhiri Deviation was opened in December 2008 to improve safety by bypassing it. Passing lanes in both directions provide safe passing opportunities. Grade-separated intersections improve safety for traffic wanting to cross or join the highway.
Now that very example with State Highway Two at Mangatawhiri (and soon to be Maramarua as well) being “rebuilt” allowing greater travelling efficiency and safety can be used where the Holiday Highway is going to be placed and (possibly) built. This replication of the “bypass” used on State Highway 2 for State Highway 1 between Puhoi and Wellsford for a fraction of the price of the Gold Plated Holiday Highway yet deliver the efficiencies and greater safety being looked for in that stretch of State Highway One. And what do we get in this scaled down project – well we get this:
- A 3-lane highway complete with median barrier separating the opposing traffic flows (3-lane highway means interchanging passing-bays at set distances for both directions of traffic)
- Grade Separated interchanges between the highway and “local” roads (or if at-grade, similar to the Waikato Expressway set-up)
- Full bypasses at Warkworth and Wellsford for thoroughfare traffic. Traffic wanting those two town centres would uses the grade-separated interchanges to access the access roads to the towns.
- A full grade-separated interchange for when State Highways One and Sixteen meet at the west-end of Wellsford
- Future proofing for allowing the 4th-lane to be added if ever required and for possible future grade-separated interchanges near Warkworth as that place is set for growth per The Auckland Plan
Now I am not the only one to have mentioned something similar to the proposal above, but I just find the idea so much more economically and socially sensible for upgrading that part of State Highway One which I do believe is needed.
The problem is our National-Led Government has lead for brains and can not see past their gold-plated Holiday Highway that drains our scarce resources from other projects (City Rail Link or the Marsden Point Rail Link anyone?) instead of this cheaper and more beneficial economic highway which is proven to work as State Highway Two at Mangatawhiri shows us.
Must keep hitting the Government hard and fast with sustained attacks over the Holiday Highway. Julie-Ann Genter is doing a fine job but more of us must also continue to attack our dense government on this stupidity they seem to be displaying.
VOAKL supports the Economic Highway mentioned in the bullet points above, not the gold-plated Holiday Highway Central Government wants.