The indicative route just announced for a new motorway between Warkworth and Wellsford will help make the freight trip between Auckland and Whangarei safer and more efficient.
“It will allow heavy trucks to bypass both Warkworth and Wellsford and address the current roads poor safety record,” says National Road Carriers chief executive David Aitken.
“With the State Highway between Auckland and Whangarei and towns further north being an economic lifeline, a ‘fit for purpose’ State Highway link cannot come fast enough,” says Aitken.
“The hundreds of heavy freight vehicles that travel the route every day make a critical contribution to Northland’s economy, employment, and lifestyle,” he says.
“While the announcement of the step forward is welcome, we remain hopeful that a motorway standard link for the whole route between Auckland and Whangarei can be accelerated and delivered within ten years,” says Aitken.
There is a strong case for making the upgrade of the Auckland to Whangarei route a single, seamless project.” he says.
“First, there is no rail link for long haul freight into or from Northland – road freight is it. Second, there is just one major road linking Auckland and Northland,” says Aitken.
Freight studies clearly indicate that Northland’s freight growth will be in the top five of New Zealand regions over the next 30 years.
To cater for this growth, NZTA needs to provide “a clear programme timeline” in its next National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) for a ‘whole of route’ upgrade of SH1 from Puhoi to Whangarei as a 4-lane highway by 2027 or sooner says National Road Carriers.
For the foreseeable future, it means the State Highway will be carrying increasing numbers of large heavy and extended trucks such as HMPV and 50 MAX vehicles.
“The end game should be to give Northland a safe, modern year-round road network,” says Aitken.