After living at our present property for 21 years, Reay and I decided we needed to downsize and move into something with less land – easier said than done!
We were able to sell our property in less than two weeks but finding a new place was a rather scary mission. Our intention was to remain in the Franklin region, stay rural and enjoy as much peace and quiet as possible. We have achieved all three goals but driving around was the scary part.
In every direction we went, we came across new subdivisions consisting of thousands of potential new homes. While this is great for new home buyers, what a problem I foresee for our roads. I would say, that on average, every new home will mean another two cars attempting to use the motorway daily.
The past few weeks have been exceptionally bad which I suspect is due to the large number of new homes already completed.
The congestion is especially frustrating on the Southern Motorway where a journey to the city, or even the airport, is taking well over an hour, often much longer, regardless of which day one travels. I also understand several planes have missed flight times causing added frustration among hundreds of passengers on overseas and domestic flights.
Not wanting to bag the transport companies, I also believe there are far too many trucks on our roads yet I don’t seem to see any freight trains carrying containers or other bulk goods.
I wouldn’t want to go back to those days when it was illegal for trucks to carry certain goods (especially newsprint) and be in competition with rail but surely there needs to be some means of getting some of the freight off our roads.
I have also noticed many motorists from our area are using back roads to access eastern parts of the city and these too are become traffic-logged. A trip from Drury to Howick can take as long as travelling via a clogged motorway.
Plans are in the pipeline to relieve some of this congestion but I believe it will get a whole lot worse before it is better and, with the volume of houses planned, even new lanes may not make it better.
I’m sorry for using my last column of the year (and sort of my first for 2017) on a personal gripe but I promise to return in 2017 with only nice rural comments to relay.
But, for now, please enjoy your holidays, catch up soon.
Brian Neben publishes Rural Living and is also an avid lifestyle farmer