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Ask Phoebe: Orange panels by motorway have fans and detractors

By Phoebe Falconer

Artist Jeff Thompson fixing his artwork to the noise wall at Brighams Creek Rd. Photo / Paul Estcourt
Artist Jeff Thompson fixing his artwork to the noise wall at Brighams Creek Rd. Photo / Paul Estcourt

From time to time I drive westward across the upper harbour bridge on to the new part of the motorway to the North Western motorway. Between the off ramp at Squadron Drive, at Trigg Road, and now at Westgate, the plywood panels on the edge of the motorway have been painted a hideous orange colour. The patterned panels adjacent to the motorway in the Greenhithe area look OK. Why the orange colour? Who makes the decision on these things? It simply looks dreadful, visual pollution. Carla Morris, Albany.

Rob Garrett, Auckland Council's manager of public art, provided the following last year. He said that this is a work in progress involving his team, the NZ Transport Agency and the HEB/Jasmax design team. As well as the bold orange colour, several sections will have artwork by Jeff Thomson applied. The colour was approved by the former Waitakere City Council which also initiated the public art component of the project.

The orange colour is striking and bright and it has attracted both fans and detractors. Over time, as the new planting in front of the wall matures, it will soften the visual impact of the noise walls. However, the colour was selected because it creates a bold counterpoint to the surrounding landscape and the design team believes that in time it will be embraced as a dynamic and distinctive feature in the highway environment.

Beauty, as always, is in the eye of the beholder.

All this week a work barge has been operating near the causeway on the Northwestern Motorway. Overnight the barge is moored just out from the Pt Chevalier Cruising Club. What work is being done in this area? Norman Morrell, Pt Chevalier.

The barge and its operators are doing preparatory testing work as part of a reclamation to raise the causeway and cycleway from Waterview to Rosebank Peninsula, and on the seaward side of Rosebank Peninsula from Rosebank Road off-ramp to the Whau River. A trial causeway is being built parallel to the current motorway to measure the impact the new motorway will have on the adjacent marine reserve.

It is planned to widen the motorway through this area.

The causeway section of SH16 between Waterview and Rosebank Rd has sunk since it was first built, and the motorway lanes and cycleway now flood during very high tides.

- NZ Herald

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