The NZTA has currently been doing some consultation on whether the Wellington St on-ramp should re-open and the chance for feedback closes on Friday so if you have a view make sure you get your thoughts in. The whole thing has been a bit of a saga so it would be good to get a final decision, whatever the outcome.
The NZ Transport Agency is reminding Aucklanders they still have an opportunity to make their views known on whether the Wellington Street on-ramp, one of the city’s entries to the busy Central Motorway Junction, should re-open to general traffic.
Feedback closes next Friday, 13 July. Information on how people can contribute to the debate is available on the NZTA website at www.nzta.govt.nz/consultation/wellington-street-on-ramp.
‘We’re really pleased with the impressive response we have had so far, but we will certainly welcome more,” says the NZTA’s acting State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Steve Mutton. “The greater the number of people who have their say, the better placed we are to make a well informed decision about the on-ramp’s future use.”
The NZTA and Auckland Transport are currently evaluating more than 500 responses already received from people close to Wellington Street, and from drivers on both sides of the harbour. Mr Mutton says the submissions include arguments both in favour of re-opening the on-ramp and keeping it closed.
“The NZTA does not have a view either way. That is why it is important people speak up during this first stage of a very important transport debate that has wide-ranging and long-term impacts for both the communities living near Wellington Street, and motorway drivers in general,” he says.
The feedback will be assessed as part of a review being undertaken by the NZTA and Auckland Transport. Traffic data is being collected from local roads and the motorway to be used as part of that review. Mr Mutton says that there will be another opportunity for the community to respond when the review findings are published in August.
The Wellington Street on-ramp has not been open to general traffic since May 2011 when it was re-built as part of the Victoria Park Tunnel project. It was the NZTA’s intention to reopen the on-ramp. However, early indications are that Auckland’s roading network may be operating better with it closed.
“The NZTA and Auckland Transport want to understand this better,” Mr Mutton says. “There’s no preferred view at this stage on how the on-ramp should operate. This is the chance to understand how we could make the network run better and we have an obligation to explore that fully. It is really important to us in developing our view that we understand the community’s views too.”
One thing that has been interesting is that previously, the agency wouldn’t really give an answer as to why it should have been rebuilt or how much it cost. Yet in their FAQs on the project, they say that it had always been needed for emergency access and that the southern approach to the tunnel cost a total of $13.7m. Why could they not have made these two things clearer earlier?