Franklin residents will be bitterly disappointed that relief from the grind of the southern motorway is at least a year away, Franklin Local Board member Alan Cole says.
He joined Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore and fellow board member Niko Kloeten at a public meeting in Pukekohe this week and heard NZTA reveal work won’t be completed until the end of next year.
"Plan changes, especially to the Takanini city on-ramp, have significantly delayed the project and that is terrible news for those who sit in nightmare traffic," he says.
Two Pahurehure Inlet bridges were to be widened, but NZTA told the meeting they will have to be replaced, causing further delays.
The $268 million Southern Corridor Improvement project started in October 2015 and congestion, traffic jams and increased travel times have become a daily feature for commuters.
"The project is complex and there is a massive amount of work going on that we can’t see, and we are talking about a confined and potentially dangerous site," Cole says. "But another year is not good news."
The project covers the motorway from the SH20/SH1 connection at Manukau down to Papakura and provides more lanes, a new interchange at Takanini and a shared-use pedestrian and cycle path.
NZTA representatives said while the project would not be completed until the end of 2019, it would be done in phases, improving the current congestion problems.
The design change at Takanini involved additional structures and had a knock-on effect for parts of the project further south. The two Pahurehure bridges were to be widened, but the supporting piers will now need to be totally replaced, causing more delays.