Update on Warkworth Roading and Infrastructure

One Warkworth Business Association - Friday, May 05, 2017
On 30 March 2017 One Warkworth Business Association (OneWW) and the Member of Parliament for Rodney, Hon. Mark Mitchell, hosted a meeting at Warkworth to discuss roading and infrastructure issues facing Warkworth.

Attending the meeting were; Mark Mitchell, Mark Macky (Vice Chairperson of OneWW), David Hay (Planner and OneWW Committee Member), Rodney Local Board members including chairperson Beth Houlbrooke,  representatives from the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), representatives from Auckland Transport (AT), and Roger Williams on behalf of the Warkworth Area Liaison Group (WALG).

The purpose of the meeting was to provide opportunity for:
  1. NZTA and AT to give an update to the Local Board, OneWW and the WALG, and for those groups to share the information with the local community.
  2. OneWW and WALG to give a joint presentation to AT and NZTA addressing “Planning future access to Warkworth”. 
    A copy of this presentation can be viewed HERE.  Please note the file may download to the bottom of the screen and take a while to open.
  3. Agreement regarding future meetings.

Discussion Summary

1.  Planning future access to Warkworth

The new Unitary Plan and extensive population growth now forecast for Warkworth were not known to NZTA when it planned the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway extension and when it was decided no southern interchange was required. 
  b NZTA, AT and the local community now need to address a doubling of the Warkworth population by 2022 and a minimum population of 20,000 within 20 years, noting that about 12,000 people will live in southern Warkworth.
  c The planned motorway on and off ramps are to the north of Warkworth and do not facilitate ease of access for Warkworth's Auckland bound (or returning) traffic, and is likely to increase traffic movements through the Hill St intersection.
  d Traffic by-passing Warkworth (heading north or south) is unlikely to call into Warkworth if doing so involves them having to change direction and a 6km round trip detour. As a consequence Warkworth business will suffer from the absence of a southern interchange.
  e The Government is committed to carrying the RONS up to Northland and inter-regional connectivity is vital. 
  f NZTA advised it takes about 18 months realistically to designate a route and NZTA has a budget for planning. 2018/2021 planning is happening now and a southern interchange is a consideration given the implications of the new Unitary Plan.

2. Hill Street Intersection
  a OneWW and WALG expressed support for a solution to the Hill Street intersection prior to the completion of the motorway extension and the Matakana Link Road. 
  b Whilst acknowledging that a full AT and NZTA investigation was required, expert comment put to OneWW and WALG expressed the view that the roundabout proposed by the Fix Hill Street Now Action Group could be built within a 15 month works period, and the work undertaken whist enabling traffic flow.
  c Concern was noted that any change to the Hill Street intersection has potential for unacceptable congestion.
  d It is agreed that the recent Elizabeth Street closure did not follow adequate consultation and any future change would follow timely consultation.
  e It was acknowledged that the Elizabeth Street closure divided the local community and timely consultation may reduce future division.

f Pedestrian and cyclist safety needs were noted. 
  g NZTA and AT have allocated funding for a full investigation of a Hill Street intersection solution. This news is a significant step forward and is very well received.
  h Despite NZTA expressing a view post meeting that physical work on a Hill Street intersection solution should be delayed until the Matakana Link Rd and motorway extensions are complete, all other parties agreed this decision is to be determined by the pending investigation.

3. Spatial Plan for Warkworth
  a At the request of OneWW, a group of local professionals have prepared a Spatial Plan for Warkworth. It is intended to undertake consultation on a Draft Spatial Plan during May.
  b This Spatial Plan is seen by OneWW as an essential document to ensure the planned and co-ordinated future development of Warkworth. The plan discusses residential and commercial developments, road networks, and pedestrian and cycle ways. It is due to be released in the next few months as a discussion document.
  c OneWW are concerned about the lack of Council engagement and that development will happen on a developer-driven, ad hoc basis.
  d AT expressed their keenness to discuss the Spatial Plan with the group and assist with the process.  

4. Future Meetings.
    All parties have agreed to meet quarterly.

OneWW thanks all parties who attended this meeting. The parties willingness to consider solutions to the Hill Street intersection, a southern motorway interchange and a Spatial Plan was extremely constructive and ongoing discussions could prove to be very beneficial for Warkworth.