Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is asking people to have their say on a proposal to toll the Ara Tūhono Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway when it opens.
At the same time, Waka Kotahi is asking for formal submissions on their proposal to reduce speed limits on sections of the existing State Highway 1 from Pūhoi to north of Warkworth to make it safer for road users now and in the future.
The existing State Highway 1 will be the free alternative route if the new motorway is tolled, says Waka Kotahi Director of Regional Relationships, Steve Mutton.
“We want to be clear with people that while these are separate proposals, Waka Kotahi is running the consultations in parallel to ensure people understand the full picture of plans for the area and they can consider the speed review and tolling proposals together and give more informed feedback.”
Public consultation on the tolling and lower speed limit proposals will open on 15 May and end on 15 June.
The new Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway will extend the four-lane Northern Motorway (SH1) 18.5km from the Johnstones Hill tunnels to just north of Warkworth. It will connect to the Northern Gateway section of SH1 south of the Johnstones Hills Tunnels, which is already tolled.
The new motorway will be separated and will vastly improve the safety, connectivity and resilience of the network between Northland and Auckland, helping to boost the economic potential of the Northland region.
Waka Kotahi contracted NX2 in a Public Private Partnership to construct the Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway. While the NX2 private-sector consortium is responsible for financing, designing, building, maintaining and operating the motorway for up to 25 years, the motorway will remain a public asset. Tolling revenue will pay for the construction and maintenance costs.
Waka Kotahi is also seeking formal public submissions on reducing the speed limits on sections of the current State Highway between Pūhoi and L Phillips Road (Sheepworld), north of Warkworth.
“The existing state highway has a high crash history and making it safer for all road users is a priority for Waka Kotahi,” says Steve Mutton.
“Speed increases both the likelihood of crashes and their severity. Most crashes are caused by a number of factors, but even when it’s not the cause of a crash, speed is most likely to determine whether anyone is killed, injured, or walks away unharmed.”
In October 2019 Waka Kotahi received feedback from the local community, our partners, organisations and road users regarding how they feel about the current speed limits on this section of the state highway. Waka Kotahi has read all the feedback and used these insights along with its technical analysis and is now formally consulting on proposed speed limit changes for this road.
Waka Kotahi consultation processes usually provide various opportunities for face-to-face engagement. However, due to the restrictions associated with Covid-19 and our commitment to reducing the risk of the virus spreading, we continue to take a careful approach to our public engagement, and we will provide online opportunities for your feedback. We acknowledge this is a difficult and uncertain time for all of us.
Public consultation on both the motorway tolling and speed limits proposal is open from 15 May until 15 June.
If the Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway is tolled, people can choose to travel on the existing State Highway 1 instead which will be maintained as a free, safe alternative route.
The motorway is scheduled to open at the end of 2021, but this may be delayed by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.