Ask Phoebe: Safety at heart of SH1 intersection overhaul

By Phoebe Falconer

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Upgrading access to country roads could cost up to $5 million

Photo / File
Photo / File

Q: North of Warkworth and south of Wellsford on State Highway 1 is an intersection that is getting a massive makeover.

It's where a country road, Wayby Valley Rd, joins the main road. Ostensibly it's a simple intersection and yet a massive amount of work has been going on for months.

Why such major work? How much is it costing? Is it part of the "Holiday Highway"? Thousands upon thousands of vehicles go through the area but over the years, I have hardly ever seen vehicles coming out of or going into the side roads.
- Peter Nicholson, Northland

A: The Transport Agency website provides the following information:

"The purpose of the project, which could cost up to $5 million, is to improve driver safety and comfort by upgrading the geometry of this section of SH1 and the intersection turning facilities.

"Currently there are no right-turn bays, and vehicles waiting to turn right are hit by vehicles travelling north and approaching the passing lane. This project will provide designated right-turn bays for vehicles turning into Wayby Valley Rd and Wayby Station Rd, thereby separating the right-turning traffic from the through traffic and improve the vertical and horizontal geometry to improve safe stopping sight distance to the intersection and raised median islands.

"The road improvement works involve crest reduction on the northbound approach, the provision of raised concrete median islands for opposed right-turn bays, realigning the Wayby Station Rd approach to the intersection, relocating the start of the northbound passing lane, the inclusion of gabion retaining walls and an upgrade to the road lighting, signing and marking."

Now you know. I cannot discover whether it is part of the Holiday Highway, but as it's on the route, one would have to think that it is.

Q: The Hudson Rd/SH1 intersection in Warkworth has been upgraded recently with widening and lights. Hudson Rd does not carry much traffic so I presume this is in readiness for a Warkworth bypass. Is this planned for the near future?
- David White, Warkworth

A: It depends on how you define "near future". Information I have gleaned suggests that construction on this Road of National Significance (RoNS), between Puhoi and Wellsford may not start until next year, depending on consents, design and public hearings decisions, and will take five or six construction seasons for the Puhoi-to-Warkworth section. Construction, if further delayed, may not be completed until as late as 2025.

The Hudson Rd upgrade, which should be finished, was based on safety and access improvements.

Maps of the proposed Puhoi-Wellsford (Ara Tuhono) road indicate that it will bypass Warkworth almost completely, rejoining SH1 between Hudson Rd and Kaipara Flats Rd.

A proposed Western Collector Route for local traffic will run from the McKinney Rd intersection via Woodcocks Rd to Hudson Rd and the SH1 intersection there.

Investigation of the Warkworth-to-Wellsford leg of this RoNS has been postponed because tests have shown that land in the area is so unstable that it would be uneconomic to build a motorway on top of it.

- NZ Herald

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