Auckland mayor Wayne Brown has today revealed plan to reduce the number of road cones and closures plaguing the nation’s biggest city.
In a media release, Brown called on key stakeholders including Auckland Transport and Waka Kotahi, as well as utility companies Chorus, Vector, and Watercare to explore how the region’s Temporary Traffic Management (TTM) can be improved quickly and in a safe and efficient manner.
“I am determined to reduce the unjustifiable economic and social disruption caused by the existing approach to temporary traffic management. The length of time that roadworks take and frequency of lane closures, together with the number of road cones used, is excessive and unnecessary,” mayor Brown said.
“Our preliminary figures indicate that Auckland Council Group spends at least $145 million on temporary traffic management each year, and utility companies have seen a massive increase in traffic management costs that no doubt contribute to higher charges for Auckland households.”
He also outlined a four point plan in which key stakeholders must conduct in finding solutions to Auckland’s cone-littered and closed off roads.
The Auckland mayor is calling on key stakeholders to:
- Immediately begin a six-month trial of an approach to TTM that is more tailored and targeted to risk, drawing on Waka Kotahi’s guidelines put forward last year as part of the Draft New Zealand Guide to Temporary Traffic Management.
- As part of the trial, explore opportunities to significantly improve programming and coordination of construction and maintenance work taking place within the road corridor, supporting a ‘one-pass’ approach by contractors wherever possible.
- Look at incentivising contractors to reduce the road space taken up by TTM through a system of financial charges and penalties.
- Assist with the design of an independent report, commissioned by the Auckland Mayor’s Office, that would quantify the costs and benefits of both the existing TTM approach and the more flexible trialled approach in terms of road safety, cost, delivery timeframes, and user experience. The report will inform the roll-out of a fit-for-purpose TTM system.
Brown acknowledged that road repair and maintenance is essential and unavoidable, and that Aucklanders must accept some traffic disruption as the price of building and maintaining the city’s infrastructure.
However, he affirmed that the price road users pay is currently too high.
“The proliferation of road cones is the result of an overly prescriptive temporary traffic management regime, where little to no adjustment is made for the actual level of risk, and this is where I see an opportunity for more immediate progress,” Brown said.
The mayor went on to add that road working contractors appear to take up more space on our streets than needed for their own parking, storage, and lunchrooms. He added that this is an “absurd and unjustifiable” burden on ratepayers, consumers, and road users.
“I do not accept the mantra ‘safety at any cost’. It cannot continue to hold back safe and reasonable improvements to temporary traffic management, which is currently a costly and annoying imposition on the daily lives of Aucklanders.”