O2NL Draft Preferred Alignment, community meetings

NZTA are making progress on the Ōtaki to North of Levin Expressway planning. A high quality map of the Draft Preferred Alignment, approx. 100m wide, is now on the O2NL Maps web page.

O2NL draft alignment map.
O2NL draft alignment map.

Find out more and have your say by coming along to one of the drop-in sessions:

Feedback closes at 5pm on Tuesday, 22 September 2020.

When Where
Monday 31 August
Manakau Bowling & Sports Club, 10 Mokena Kohere Street, Manakau
Tuesday 1–Thursday 3 September
Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō, 10 Bath St, Levin
Saturday 5 September
Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō, 10 Bath St, Levin
Tuesday 8–Thursday 10 September
Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō, 10 Bath St, Levin
Saturday 12 September
Ohau Hall, 14 Muhunoa West Road, Ohau
Tuesday 15 September
Koputaroa Hall, 399 Koputaroa Rd, Koputaroa

Dangerous intersection should be a priority

The following item was submitted by John Brown:

The May edition of the Otaki Mail contained an excellent article by Tom Frewen about the dangerous state of State Highway 1 between Otaki and Levin. It included mention of the intersection at Waikawa Beach Road and State Highway 1. The article arose from a meeting held In February between Manakau residents and the NZTA to discuss the matter.

The meeting was informed that no further action was proposed at this intersection by NZTA and the present SH 1 would be handed over to the local council when the Otaki to Levin new road was finished about 2030.

Nothing has appeared since 2017 in the Waikawa Beach Ratepayers Newsletters or web site about this intersection and gives the impression that everyone at Waikawa Beach is happy with the safety improvements which were carried out. Discussions with many residents would indicate otherwise.

The Otaki Mail article describes the intersection as a death trap. It was created by NZTA with the removal of the merging lanes and slip lanes when five lanes were reduced to three and recently aggravated when plastic stakes were placed along the centre median strip. NZTA rationale is the model they use is based on some East European or South American design which they believe is correct for New Zealand. I believe the “engineers” employed by NZTA are bereft of any practical or logical ideas on road design or safety.

If you have concerns about this intersection, which NZTA admit is in the top 100 most dangerous in New Zealand, please contact the Ratepayers Association and urge them to move this to the top of their health and safety agenda and get alongside our Manakau neighbours to force some action by NZTA, local and central Government. We can not afford to wait another 10 years and then find that the local body which inherits the road has no money left to make any changes.

The Ōtaki Mail item John refers to, says, in part:

Initial scoping and design, already underway on the investigation phase, according to NZTA’s April update, will include proposals for “stretches of median barrier” on SH1 between the end of the expressway at Taylors Road through to the intersection with SH57 “excluding Manakau and Ohau, where safety improvements have recently been put in place.”

One of these improvements — the removal of a feed-in or shelter lane on SHI for Waikawa Beach Road traffic to turn south into — has actually made that intersection much more dangerous than it was, according to Manakau property owner, Phil Grimmett. Calling it a “death trap”, he says it requires vehicles emerging from Waikawa Beach Rd to interrupt two lanes of traffic to go south to Otaki.

“This is dicing with death,” he says. “A previous ‘improvement’ has exacerbated the situation. There needs to be a redesign of this intersection in the near future. A 10-year delay for real safety improvements is not acceptable.”

There is no mention of this intersection in NZTA’s latest update and, as for the two bridges over the railway line, Manakau resident, Judy Webby, says there is no funding for safety improvements to either of them.

Article text.

The WBRA Committee is always happy for members and others to submit items of concern. Please email wbra.committee@gmail.com or leave a comment below if you have views on this intersection.

Ōtaki to north of Levin update April 2020

News from the Ōtaki to north of Levin road: design work is continuing and ground testing is to take place soon:

Preparations are underway for geotechnical testing within the preferred corridor for the new highway.  These investigations will include drilling boreholes up to 30m deep, to collect soil and rock samples, and penetration tests to evaluate the resistance of the ground.

What we learn about the soil and rock in the area will help the planning and design of the new road.

While the drilling and other testing isn’t able to happen with the current working restrictions, we’re preparing to go ahead as soon as we can.

What the testing will involve?

Nearly 50 tests will be carried out. The test sites do not represent where the exact route is likely to go as we haven’t determined that yet. The locations are generally evenly spaced to provide information about soil and rock conditions throughout the area. Some locations are selected for easiest access to avoid utilities, for example. To help us understand foundation requirements, other locations have been positioned near areas where significant structures or constraints are expected, such as around rivers and gullies.

Key dates for the project show construction starting in 2025 and completing in 2029.

O2NL timeline.

Meanwhile safety work is being planned for the existing road:

  • Stretches of median barrier on SH1, from where the PP2O expressway will end through to the intersection with SH57 – excluding Manakau and Ōhau, where safety improvements have recently been put in place
  • A roundabout at the SH1 / SH57 intersection
  • Edge barrier and wide centre lines, to provide greater separation between the traffic lanes, on SH57 from the SH1 intersection to Heatherlea East Road
  • A roundabout at the SH57 / Queen Street intersection.

Police checkpoints at Easter 2020

Easter should be unusually quiet at the beach this year.

Just in case there are folks thinking of travelling from further south to Waikawa Beach for Easter:

Police have set up a checkpoint north of Wellington to catch people sneaking away for the long Easter weekend.

Vehicles are being diverted off State Highway 1 – north of Plimmerton – through a truck weigh station to be checked.

Police are looking for signs people are heading away for a holiday and cross-referencing registrations and licences to check drivers lived locally. …

“The message is clear stay home and save lives, now is not the time for non-essential travel,” they said.…

The government and Ministry of Health have sent a clear message – this weekend needs to be a staycation.

Source: Police checkpoints set up to stop holidaymakers | RNZ News.

Be a good egg. Stay home this Easter.

Transmission Gully route to be done by Christmas 2020

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says Wellington’s vital new transport route into and out of the capital is scheduled to open before Christmas 2020. …

“Transmission Gully is a highly complex project being built on 27km of very difficult terrain. Progress has been slower than anticipated due to a number of issues encountered during construction including the Kaikoura earthquake in 2016 which diverted resources and materials,” says Mr Ratcliffe.

Continue reading “Transmission Gully route to be done by Christmas 2020”