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Phoebe Falconer answers your questions about Auckland

Ask Phoebe: Warnings before fines on new clearway lanes

By Phoebe Falconer

Collection trucks are allowed warning lights to let people know they make frequent stops. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Collection trucks are allowed warning lights to let people know they make frequent stops. Photo / Sarah Ivey

The stretch of Manukau Rd between Greenlane and Greenwoods Corner has been made two lanes in both directions, with the additions of clearways during peak times. Is the council supposed to inform residents of these changes before making them? Alan Parker, Auckland.

It did, says say the council. It used several methods,including the council newsletter City Scene, the council website, the Central Leader, and through the local community board. Council staff visited most affected residents and businesses before the project, and also did a mailout to residents of Manukau Rd and adjacent side-roads. There was also a meeting with the community board, police, busoperators and local businesses to discuss the proposals.

So it all sounds comprehensive to me. But for those who did slip through the net, parking officers have been issuing warning notices instead of fines for the first couple of weeks, to inform motorists unaware of the changes.

The idea behind the project is to encourage airport traffic to use Manukau Rd as the main route and keep traffic off the side streets. The original consultation was in June last year.

As a motorcyclist, I have been heartened to note that two of the most "slippery when wet" metal expansion joints on the Harbour Bridge southbound carriageway have been covered with a non-slip coating. Are there plans to do the same to the northbound carriageway as well as the Onewa Rd southbound onramp, as both still have slippery metal strips?

The second joint on the onramp is particularly tricky when wet, as it is at the point where a bike has to be leaned over the most while negotiating the corner. I really look forward to a "grippier" winter. Neil Chase, North Shore.

There are indeed plans to make these joints non-slip. The work is weather-dependent, though, because of the length of fine weather required for the non-slip compound to cure, but the NZ Transport Agency hopes to be able to have it done by August. Late winter looks to be grippier, then.

And in further good news, the agency plans to upgrade all expansion joints on the motorway network with non-slip coatings as part of their general maintenance programme. It is considering bringing forward the date of the Onewa Rd onramp work, because of the problem you have encountered.

Why are some cars allowed to have a flashing light on the roof, when they are not a fire engine, ambulance or police car? Archie Gothard, 7, and Ally Gothard, 6, Westmere.

Some vehicles, generally trucks, vans or utes, are allowed to have flashing lights to let other people know they are going to drive very slowly, or that they might have to stop suddenly or stop a lot.

This frequently happens when the vehicles are used in road building or repairs, or if it is a big truck towing a very wide trailer.

If you are driving in the country, you sometimes see a van with a yellow or amber flashing light. This is the rural mail delivery person, and he is allowed to have a beacon, too, because he stops often and sometimes has to drive from one side of the road to the other.

- NZ Herald

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