The NZTA is advising there’s only two days left to have a say on the fate of the Pohutakawa trees on Gt North Rd which they and the NZTA want to wipe out to widen Gt North Rd.

The NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport remind people that submissions on improvements at the St Lukes Road Bridge, as part of the SH16 St Lukes to Great North Road Interchanges upgrade, close this Thursday, 3 July.

The Transport Agency’s Highways Manager, Steve Mutton, says the submissions are an opportunity for people to have their say on proposals which affect their community.

“This is a chance for the public to provide us and our partners, Auckland Transport, with their views and concerns, and any other feedback on the changes at St Lukes” says Mr Mutton.

People can make submissions online on the Auckland Council website,

The current proposal for an additional left hand turn onto St Lukes Road bridge, to handle the predicted change of traffic when the Waterview tunnels open in early 2017, requires the removal and replacement of six Pohutukawa trees.

“We want to assure people that our proposal includes replacement of the trees with six semi-mature Pohutakawa that will be 6-8 metres tall when they are planted,” says Mr Mutton.

“We acknowledge, however, that the community does have concerns about the removal and replacement of the trees at the St Lukes interchange. This is why we’ve asked for the consent to remove and replace them be publically notified. We want to ensure that community views are included as part of the decision making process,” says Mr Mutton.

The Transport Agency is currently widening the Northwestern Motorway (SH16) from three to four lanes in each direction, and improving the St Lukes motorway ramps. As part of the project, Auckland Transport is funding improvements to the St Lukes Road-Great North Road intersection, and widening the St Lukes Road overbridge to benefit drivers, walkers and cyclists.

St Lukes is the last of six related projects to connect the Northwestern and Southwestern motorways and complete the Western Ring Route (WRR) – identified by the Government as one of its Roads of National Significance to help improve the economy and road safety.

The Western Ring Route will provide a 47km-long alternative to SH1 between Albany and Manukau.  It will provide more reliable city connections – particularly with developing commercial and residential areas in the northwest and southwest – and improve regional transport connections for people and freight.

There’s more about the overall project here and below are some images of what they want to do.

St Lukes Interchange - Tree Removal plan

As well as submitting on the proposal you might also want to consider signing this petition.


If  you do make a submission it’s also probably worth highlighting the downgrading of the pedestrian facilities too.

St Lukes Interchange plan - Ped changesUpdate 2:

Here’s the link to the plan change to submit against

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  1. It would be nice to save them if possible. All trees are nice. But does the fact that they are natives make any difference? If they need to go I don’t mind as long as they plant new ones, which will grow up in time. Sometimes when a tree comes down it opens up the whole streetscape, the same as when they underground power lines.

  2. The design brings a new meaning to “greenwash”.. green painted cycle lanes on the wrong side of always on left turn lanes (one of which has had its zebra crossing removed).. how do you even get into the cycle lanes unless you are a super confident roadie? Macho cycle lanes, not mucho use to the 99%

  3. Are they intentionally making it as difficult as possible to submit on this? Where exactly do you go and submit on the council webpage?

    1. Here is the link and some info for the compulsory fields.
      Name of applicant: Auckland Transport
      Who proposes to: Alteration St Lukes & Great North Rd designations, removing 6 pohutukawa trees.
      Street number: 820 Great North Rd
      Application Number: R/VCC/2013/4724/1
      Applicant’s email address: [email protected]
      Location of application site: Auckland CBD
      Resource Consents – District Issues
      I/we: Oppose
      Specify aspects of the above application you are submitting on: Removal of six pohutukawa trees.
      The decision I/we wish the Council to make is: Require Auckland Transport to construct the additional lane in such a way that it does not require the six pohutukawa trees to be removed.

      Make your submission here:

      1. “Require Auckland Transport to construct the additional lane in such a way that it does not require the six pohutukawa trees to be removed.”

        Alternatively, not build the lane at all. If BBC is right in their comments below then if traffic projections continue to show that the road will be at capacity in 2026 we could revisit the need in 2025.

  4. This road is next to one of Auckland most beautiful parks, surely the council should be reducing traffic here, not increasing it. That’s why we have motorways for?

    1. Unfortunately, if we build bigger motorways then we encourage more traffic (it’s called induced demand and is the reason why congestion relief is typically short lived). Hence we need bigger local roads to handle the arrival of the extra traffic on and off the bigger motorway.

    1. apples and oranges mate – NZTA are seeking public approval to do it (as is their right under legislation), Shaw flat out broke the law then tried to deny he did it.

    2. Also since then National banned the general protection of trees throughout NZ, as such any one anywhere can chop down whatever they want if it’s on their land. Depressing state of affairs, personally I’ve seen dozens of large beautiful trees chopped down around Ponsonby as a result of this legislation from National.

    1. Good grief. What ‘needs’? Two left turn lanes instead of one isn’t needed, wanted, yes, by some drivers for a small part of the day in their impatience to not be stuck in their car for an additional minute. And what, because of a traffic model says may happen in 2026!

      Build this horrendous piece of vandalism and more traffic will be incentivised to drive here. 8 lanes on SH16 + plus another 3/4 for offramps, another how many on GNR? 7/8?, only separated by the asphalt of a car park!. No busway, half arsed cycle amenity, and the destruction of a truly glorious line of trees.

      This is a sick culture if this what people really want.

  5. The only good thing about this design for cyclists in the removale of the through slip lane on Gt North Rd. Coming down St lukes Rd you will have to cross a slip lane to get into the right turn lane onto Gt North rd. Even worse for pedestrains. This is in a high use pedestrian area.

    1. Indeed, the picture above is an early proposal where the trees were kept. However, their modelling showed that unless an extra lane was built and the trees chopped down then Great North Rd would be at capacity by 2026(!) so of course the logical solution was to chop them down and add in an extra lane. Thanks Auckland Transport for having such a visionary view of Auckland.

      1. So if AT implemented a full scale bus network with a Class B std on the blogs 2030 plan with 400 buses proratered by arterial volumes. Then you have carpark property rates which can be high or low to suit how going with congestion. Then fare improvements like $10 day pass, family disc etc. Why do we need to widen? We are building around the elephant in the room car mode share why not paint a bus lane over one car lane?

  6. Walking and cycling will be big losers
    We’re going to get a lot more cars and a much more hostile environment for cycling without separated and protected cycle lanes

  7. I hope this is not censored . I support saving the trees when I purchased in Western Springs Road I was clearly told that the intersection and road development was finished .That is what the council told me . Tree destruction has become the new form of land grabbing in MT Eden alone 750 trees a year are chopped down since the change of regulations .Save the trees for your children’s future .

  8. Take a cue what planers in Berlin are doing,,,,trees are paramount everywhere, and a more creative approach is taken to integrate nature and trees in particular

  9. Some good news? It would seem.

    According to the Harbour News

    The “Independent” Panel said AT can chop them. But-

    They would need permission from the Waitemata Local Board who owns the land under the trees. The WLB has come out saying they don’t want the trees chopped.

    So that puts and end to the matter and the trees are safe right?

    I wonder then why Deputy Chair Pippa Coom says “it’s not totally the end of the line but it looks bleak”?

    Confused of Freeman’s Bay

      1. Ah. So WLB doesn’t have final say like the article says.

        Whatever happens it shows how “democracy” works in Auckland ( only 54 of the 66 submissions lost? Someone fucked up)

        And the total failure of “Independent” Commissioners. The only thing they’re independent from is whatever the local community wishes to happen.

  10. There are two positions to take here: 1. oppose outright, 2. set a high value of compensation. A one-to-one replacement is never enough when trees are removed. Many-to-one should be the rule, and NOT on the site of removal alone. I think we could forgive A.T. if they were seeking from N.Z.T.A a thousand-to-one ratio of replanting on many different sites. A.T. should set this ratio as the price for their cooperation with N.Z.T.A.

  11. Hey Matt, just wondering if you’ve heard anything on the state of the left lane South bound on this St. Lukes intersection. This Elephant in the room has been coned off since the completion of the rest of the works, and I see no way it can operate safely as a lane as it merges dangerously into the fast moving SH16 Westbound offramp. Looks like a glaring design fail!

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