NZTA have confirmed meeting details on the Peka Peka interchange decision. The community meeting will be:
Date: Thursday 31 January 2019
Time: 7pm – 8.30pm
Venue: Te Horo Community Hall.
Reading through the available information online reveals just how odd their rational for canning the interchange is, and shows that the interchange would have lowered the traffic volumes on local roads (which is contrary to the fears that some residents believe might have happened.
What’s interesting here is that the interchange would’ve reduced traffic on Peka Peka Road - this is because virtually nobody is driving up Te Moana Road and down the old State Highway 1 to get to Harrisons Gardenworld. Instead, they doing what NZTA has called a “rat run” through the streets of Waikanae Beach, hardly a good outcome for residents there.
The bigger issue though is north of Peka Peka, where residents of Te Horo and Te Horo Beach will face a choice of either taking an 8km detour down Te Moana Road and along the old SH1, or taking an 8 minute detour by driving past Te Horo north to Ōtaki, then doubling back to Te Horo.
As you can see from the above table, traffic through Main Street in Waikanae would also significantly drop with the interchange, this being because Te Horo traffic would no longer have to take the Te Moana interchange detour to get home.
Throw into the mix that they projected a 1.3 percent increase in traffic volumes, and instead they’ve been getting greater than 3 percent as the region is growing strongly. Peka Peka and particularly Te Horo are areas that, while planned to remain semi-rural, are seeing a big increase in the number of lifestyle blocks going in (seriously, go visit Te Horo Beach sometime soon). If we’re thinking about future proofing our infrastructure, it makes sense to build this all now to ensure that it’s able to cope with what’s coming, rather than having all that additional traffic going through residential streets in Waikanae.
It’s also worth noting that the preferred Peka Peka interchange option had a BCR of 1.5-2.1. The cheaper option had a BCR of 3.6. Interesting too, that the cheaper option came in at $10.4 million, versus $23 million to $28 million for the preferred option.
The more I look at the two options, it seems increasingly odd that the more expensive option was the preferred one. It’s almost as if NZTA picked the preferred, more expensive option, as a basis to allow it to fail with the lesser BCR, whereas the cheaper, $10.4 million option, would have likely delivered the same benefits…