Q. Now that the Grand Old Lady of Franklin Rd, the Birdcage Tavern, is comfortably resting at her temporary location, would it be possible to have a new flag on the flagpole? The current one is really tatty, and she deserves better.
- John Mead, Freemans Bay.
A. You're not alone in your desire to tart up the old girl, John. Darren Utting, stakeholder manager for the Victoria Park Alliance who had the Birdcage moved, agrees and has arranged a new flag. This time it's the Royal Standard of Scotland, to reflect the tavern's original name of the Rob Roy Hotel. It is not the Scottish national flag, which, as everyone knows, is a white diagonal cross on a blue background.
Apparently Scotsmen working on site are well pleased.
Q. The newly opened link at Manukau City connecting SH20 with the Southern Motorway is great when traffic flows are low. However, during the evening, from 4pm until about 6pm, the commuter traffic load is awful.
Essentially, five lanes are forced into three at the Orams Rd overbridge, and a nightly crawl ensues, which can extend back several kilometres. Are there plans to alleviate this?
- Jon Maplesden, Manurewa.
A. As you have probably noticed, steps have already been taken to try to regulate the traffic flow here. The Transport Agency has reduced the Southwestern Motorway (SH20) to one lane, and cones on the left hand side of the Southern prevent drivers using the merge lane to try to jump the queue. This has helped on the Southern, though there is still some queuing on the Southwestern. There's not much else the NZTA can do until all the work is done at this intersection, which should be some time next month. At this time, ramp signals will be installed, and both lanes on the Southwestern will reopen.
Even better news is that there are long-term plans to widen the Southern Motorway south of Hill Rd, and timing options are currently being considered.
Q. Who replaces the white china heritage plaques? The one where Cashmore's Mill was in Coxs Bay has been missing for over a year.
- Victoria Barron, Auckland.
A. Auckland City Council is aware that the plaque is missing and is having a new one made and installed.
Q. As a regular user of the Northern Gateway, I'd like to know when the traffic webcam cameras at the gateway tunnel will become operational. It will certainly help during holiday weekends and at Christmas.
- David Tillett, North Shore.
A. There are plans to extend the webcam service to sites such as the Northern Gateway Toll Road, but priority is being given to those bits of the motorway network around the city that are regularly clogged up. I don't have a timeframe for the Northern Gateway webcams, I'm afraid, but you might be interested to know that the service has recently been extended to include the Upper Harbour and Southwestern motorways. Camera images are refreshed every 60 seconds, and you can see the results at www.trafficnz.info/googlemaps/#cameras.