While New Zealand’s political arena may still be the talk about town, I’ve been visiting Tauranga, Te Awamutu, Rotorua and more.
Despite admiring our green countryside and spring flowers, I have been most struck by the sorry state of our roads, both locally and further afield.
It seems wherever I go, there is broken seal, rough patching, pot holes and uneven surfaces – not good on my tyres, that’s for sure. And, while there are road works, here, there and everywhere, few seem to be addressing these particular issues.
What’s more, I can see mini potholes becoming maxi sinkholes…Oh, wasn’t that the case in Kingseat Road a while back?
Forgive me if I sound grumpy but I think my exasperation has escalated after a quick visit to West Auckland. I was astounded by the beautiful North-Western motorway, especially between Pt Chevalier and Te Atatu where I exited. In some parts there were five lanes on my side of the centre barrier. The ease of travelling was sheer bliss and this at 9.30am on a weekday!
I shuddered as I reflected on my journey from Pukekohe into Botany that very morning and I wondered if the poor relation – you know, the Southern Motorway, that strip of highway leading to the bulk of New Zealand – would ever receive such generous treatment.
It wasn’t enough to make me pack my bags and go west but it did make me crotchety. Then, just as I was having a rant, I heard about the plan for a new city at Paerata – a projected 500,000 people by the year 2050. I’m sure I’ll be long gone but my grandies won’t and with am influx of new housing already underway throughout Franklin, the question of roads immediately came to mind.
I haven’t heard a Dickie-boo about widening any of our local roads although someone suggested the railway will solve all such problems. Oh yeah! Considering what a battle it has been to secure electrification between Papakura and Pukekohe, I’m a bit sceptical; not so much about a train service as such, but definitely about an adequate service which will take people to where they need to go.
Furthermore, if as suggested, business growth will follow residential expansion, will the railway here also cater for long haul freight? That major industry will be a natural result of establishing this new city is still very much theory and while I believe we will see some new business growth, I wonder how much and I wonder about the ongoing number of trucks on our single lane rural roads not to mention an under pressure motorway.
If roads remain as they are, I can’t see major companies rushing to set up out our way.
With many unanswered questions regarding highway upkeep now and in the future, it’s enough to make a grown editor hit the bottle instead of the road.
So, perhaps the answer is to grab a cuppa and sit down with the latest issue of Rural Living. Read about a man who really does know trains and a golfer whose natural ability is par for the course. There’s a whole lot more too, so enjoy, and I’ll catch you all next month…if I make it down the road to work.