Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Ponsonby's Franklin Rd to get upgrade

The historic trees will have their roots protected from vehicles by redefining the berm area, the council says. Photo / at.govt.nz
The historic trees will have their roots protected from vehicles by redefining the berm area, the council says. Photo / at.govt.nz

Plans to upgrade tree-lined Franklin Rd, which attracts hordes of visitors to its street display of Christmas lights, is set to begin this month.

After 12 months of consultation, Auckland Transport has released preliminary designs showing improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.

The historic trees will have their roots protected from vehicles by redefining the berm area.

Auckland Transport roading group manager Andrew Scoggins said Franklin Rd is in poor condition and there are safety hazards for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

"Over the years tree roots have damaged footpaths, the drainage system and the road surface.

"There is also a high demand for parking, but the road has poorly defined parking spaces, meaning drivers are parking too close to the trees and they're driving over exposed roots."

Mr Scoggins said utility providers are also worried about the state of their infrastructure and they were planning service renewals and upgrades.

He said Auckland Transport is working with utility service providers and taking a "dig once" approach.

"Watercare, Vector, Chorus and Auckland Council Stormwater will all be undertaking works.

"The work is important because Franklin Rd is a major link between Ponsonby and the city with more than 14,000 vehicle trips each day."

Auckland Transport is undertaking a final round of targeted engagement.

"We want final feedback to ensure we haven't missed anything that would make it even better."

Expected timings

• May 2016: Stage 1 (utility upgrade) physical works start.

• July/August 2016: AT completes final detailed design for stage 2 (road upgrade) works.

• September/October 2016: Contract awarded for stage 2 works.

• October/November 2016: Stage 2 works start.

• End November 2016 - early January 2017: No works planned over Christmas lights period.

• Mid to late 2017: Works completed.

- NZ Herald

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