5 Mar 2024

Eye watering amount of money for south Auckland roading project, cyclists say

7:19 pm on 5 March 2024
Mill Road, South Auckland.

Photo: Supplied / Google Maps

Cycling advocates say the government is pumping an eye watering amount of money into a roading project in south Auckland that was put on ice three years ago.

On Monday, Transport Minister Simeon Brown unveiled the government's draft statement on land transport, which includes plans to revive the Mill Road corridor project and the East West Link.

The two roading projects come with big price tags.

The first stage of Mill Road was set to cost $1.3 billion, and the East West Link is set to cost $1.9b.

Communities in South Auckland are celebrating the return of the projects but it was not without its critics.

Karen Hormann, chairperson of cycling advocacy group Bike Auckland, said the cost for the projects were staggering.

"These are eye wateringly expensive, big, projects, at a time where a lot of things are being cut," she said.

The projects needed to work for everyone, Hormann said.

"We don't have all the details, but, the way the funding has been proposed in the [Government Policy Statement], it's likely that they will be just carbon trucks that are being accommodated," she said.

"We're spending a lot of money and we're not actually providing infrastructure for everybody."

She was worried big roading projects would create accessibility issues for residents.

"You've got Onehunga, which is quite a big residential area, families and kids, and instead you're going to bring in more cars and more trucks," she said.

"That's what happens when you build roads, it just brings more vehicles, so that makes the whole area less appealing, less safe, and less accessible."

The draft policy statement featured a proposed fuel tax increase of 12 cents to hit all at once in 2027, and a plan to hike vehicle registration fees by a total of $50.

Manurewa-Papakura ward councillor Daniel Newman said the Mill Road project was essential to keep up with the area's growth.

"The growth is real, it is there, and we're already years late to provide an alternate transport corridor, so that's why Mill Road has to be delivered," he said.

He wanted Auckland Council to support the draft policy statement.

"Mill Road needs to happen," Newman said.

"It needed to start a long time ago, and I think that the draft [Government Policy Statement] which includes Mill Road is a big step forward."

Chairperson of the Papakura Local Board, Brent Catchpole, described the Mill Road project as overdue.

"It's an obvious choice for when the main motorway, State Highway One, clogs up," he said.

"It will take a lot of traffic and heavy trucks away from there as well, so this is absolutely gold for Papakura and the people in the south."

The draft policy statement is out for consultation and closes on 2 April.

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