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Ask Phoebe: Reduced speed signs on viaduct will remain

By Phoebe Falconer

NZTA says the 80km/h Spaghetti Junction limit will be extended.

The viaduct marks the southern gateway to the CMJ - the busiest section of motorway in New Zealand Photo / Dean Purcell
The viaduct marks the southern gateway to the CMJ - the busiest section of motorway in New Zealand Photo / Dean Purcell

Could you please tell me if there is a recommended duration for reduced speed signage? I note in about 2009, temporary 80km/h signage was installed leading up to and over the Newmarket Viaduct. This is still in place four years later, and while most of us would agree that it is a sensible speed for this location, can someone please take down the "temporary" part? While doing so, it may be worth revising the number of speed signs on the viaduct (there is one every 100m).
Matt Hancock, Auckland.

When last I responded to a similar question (in the Anzac Day column, to be precise), the Transport Agency advised that the temporary speed limit signs would be removed in the next few weeks when the last of the work on the new viaduct and necessary legal work was finished. This clearly has not happened. However, there will be no return to the 100km/h limit that existed before the old viaduct was replaced. The NZTA says the 80km/h limit that already applies to traffic driving through the Central Motorway Junction (Spaghetti Junction) will be extended to include the new viaduct.

The viaduct marks the southern gateway to the CMJ - the busiest section of motorway in New Zealand - and the NZTA says it is a safer option to have a uniform speed limit for the high volume of vehicles using this part of the motorway.

With the advent of 3D printers for home use, like the Open Source RepRap project, many of us print solid parts with a polymer called PLA (Polylactic Acid) which is the same plastic being used for strawberry punnets, and sometimes takeaway coffee cup lids. We often throw failed/broken prints into the rubbish, but it would be helpful to know if we can put them into the recycling bin instead? Gary Tolley, Auckland.

PLA is a relatively new polymer derived from natural materials such as corn starch, tapioca or sugar cane. It is used as an alternative to conventional oil-based polymers in a wide variety of applications including food packaging. Within New Zealand, PLA is classified as a Class 7 plastic. Eighty per cent of New Zealanders live in areas where local councils tell them to put class 7 plastic, or plastic generally, in recycling bins for collection at the kerbside. The collection of these plastics also provides recyclers with the opportunity to decide what to do with them. The recycled PLA market has a low commodity price and it costs more to ship a container of PLA overseas to a recycler than the actual material is worth. Therefore, it is not financially viable for some recyclers to begin sorting PLA for recycling. One of the key drivers for the use of PLA is its bio-degradable properties under the right conditions. When placed into a composting facility or a domestic compost heap, the PLA will degrade over time. When left exposed to natural elements, the PLA will also degrade but over a longer period. So there are two options; put the PLA in your compost or worm farm, or put it in your recycling bin.

- NZ Herald

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