Roadworks mess has moteliers fuming

By Mike Barrington

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Growling moteliers on Whangarei's Western Hills Drive have been pacified by a NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) undertaking to carry out clean-up work associated with nearby roadworks.

The moteliers - Allan and Melva Forrest from the Avenue Heights Motel, Owen Worth from Pohutukawa Lodge and Heather Cox from Lodge Bordeaux - have businesses just south of the Mander Park section of State Highway 1/Western Hills Drive where NZTA completed widening and upgrading earlier this year.

The motel owners were angry that drains covered by cloth to filter runoff from the roadworks and gutters clogged by gravel which traffic has carried along from the roadworks has not been cleared.

Grass is now growing in the gutters and, together with the covered drains, contributes to water ponding on the road in front of the motels during heavy rain.

The moteliers said they had been assured at a NZTA meeting in the St John's hall a couple of months ago that the clean-up work would be completed that afternoon, but nothing had happened.

Mr Forrest also claimed NZTA contractors Fulton Hogan had told him the exterior of his motel would be waterblasted to remove dust which coated it during the roadworks, but the job had not been done.

The moteliers were further upset because they had been told their Wilson Rd to Fourth Ave section of SH1 would not be upgraded until 2017. They considered the present patched road surface caused noisy clanks when trucks drove over it and they wanted it sealed before the planned upgrade.

The moteliers claimed traffic speed had increased since the Mander Park section of the road was widened. They said heavy trucks exceeding the speed limit were "roaring" past the motels at night, causing vibrations which made buildings "shake like Wellington" and the noise was disturbing sleep.

Told of the moteliers' complaints, NZTA Auckland media manager Ewart Barnsley said the road culverts would be cleared in the next few days and Fulton Hogan would contact the moteliers to discuss their concerns.

Mrs Forrest was pleased with the NZTA response, but still wary about whether words would be followed by action.

- Northern Advocate

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