The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and Auckland Transport (AT) have started consulting with Aucklanders to get their views 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.
"This is the 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," says the NZTA's State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker. "The more feedback there is, the better placed we are to make a well-informed decision."
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 AT want to understand this better.
"We don't have a preferred view at this stage on how the on-ramp should operate. We have an opportunity 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" says Mr Parker.
"We believe the Victoria Park Tunnel project is having an impact on improving motorway driving through the Central Motorway Junction, but I acknowledge that locally, there is some frustration about the on-going closure at Wellington Street and the impact it is having on community roads. That it is why it is critical that we talk with people so that we have a much better understanding of what is happening and why it is happening."
The NZTA is now delivering feedback forms to communities near the on-ramp so that people can have an opportunity to share their views. The feedback form will also be available on the NZTA website [PDF, 291 KB] (PDF, 188 KB) so that everyone in Auckland can have their say.
All those views and experiences will be used to help shape the scope of a review to be undertaken by the NZTA and AT. Traffic data is being collected from local roads and the motorway to be used as part of that review.
Mr Parker says that there will be another opportunity for the community to respond when the review findings are published in August.
"This will be a fair and vigorous process. The NZTA and AT welcome the feedback and input from people affected by the on-ramp closure as a critical part of the review and final decision making procedure," says Mr Parker.
Further information is also available on the NZTA website at www.nzta.govt.nz/consultation/wellington-street-on-ramp/.