The southern corridor improvements are ‘Charging Ahead’ (according to NZTA) but ‘Crawling Along’ is more like it for we motorists.
And, I should know since I regularly drive Manukau to Drury. Of course, with those road works in full swing I expect delays but my recent one hour 35 minute trawl from Takapuna to Drury, during the middle of an unusually sunny winter’s afternoon, left me short tempered with cramp in my right calf in (as in leg, that is!).
This excruciating snail’s pace came on the back of accompanying my two grandsons to see the very energetic Mister Maker in concert. While it did mean traipsing to the Shore’s Bruce Mason Theatre (why can’t more of these excellent shows come our way?), and I expected the return trip to take time, the in-going journey actually proved easy. From Pakuranga, we were there in 20 minutes.
But returning to Pukekohe was another matter all together. Leaving Takapuna and 2.49pm I arrived at my daughter’s Pukekohe front door at 4.24pm. If anyone (and I mean anyone!) had needed the toilet in between times I would not have been a happy Nanny!
The early portion of the drive went smoothly, not much more than 10 minutes before I was exiting the Harbour Bridge, although I soon noticed north-bound was almost at a standstill from the city to Mt Wellington.
South-bound was clear enough to Ellerslie but by time I hit the Otahuhu off ramp, we were crawling at around 20kph, coming to a halt every so often. You can guess what I heard every 15 minutes or so: “are we nearly there, Nanny?”
So, motorway improvements, ‘Charging along’? Well, if so, they’re not charging fast enough for me! I can’t think what the next year improvements are ‘Charging Ahead’ will be like before the Takanini north-bound (according to NZTA) but ‘Crawling ramp opens (hopefully, at the end of 2017), let Along’ is more like it for we motorists. alone another year after that before this whole project is complete.
And taking the ‘back road’ (Cosgrave through to Mill and on to Redoubt) is not really an option either unless one happens to be going against the flow.
I returned home to Pakuranga that way and made good time but, oh my, the south-bound lane was a solid stream all the way from Flat Bush and moving almost as slowly as the motorway.
The reconfigurations planned for this route – which include widening to four lanes – will indeed be welcome, but let’s be frank, it will be several years before we see this project started let alone completed. By that time, I’ll likely be toddling along on my mobility scooter!
And, with new terrace-style housing around Takanini, plus several more large subdivisions planed throughout the Franklin district, I fear city commuters are in for many more traffic headaches before they see congestion eased – I am not convinced it will be completely resolved.
Bring on rail electrification (not just to Pukekohe but to Hamilton too) then let’s see what happens. And, no, don’t ask me about the cost! Let’s just focus on what the present traffic mess is already costing us in time as well as money.
Helen Perry, Editor