Negotiations have begun with landowners around the Nixon Street/Mill Road, and Nixon Street/Kamo Road intersections, to enable roadworks that will address congestion and safety at these two major intersections.
10/04/2014 7:34 p.m.
"Queues can form at both of the intersections during peak traffic, and the Kamo/Kensington/Nixon intersection has been identified as a traffic ‘black spot’. We aim to solve all of these problems through this project,” said WDC Senior Roading Engineer Greg Monteith.
The project will see Nixon Street become four lanes between Mill Road and Kamo Road.
The intersections at each end of this stretch (at Mill Road and at Kamo/Kensington Road) will be upgraded and new traffic signals will be installed.
The connection between Nixon Street and Kensington Avenue (crossing Kamo Road) will be straightened out.
“To do this work we will need to widen the road at each intersection, and that means we will need to purchase parts of properties that front onto the roads. When this is required we negotiate with the property owners and pay the market rate (as assessed by independent valuers) for the sites,” said Mr Monteith.
“We have gone door to door to talk with the residents and there was a public meeting on 2 April where the improvements were discussed. Further public meetings will be held to give the public the opportunity to discuss this project. Dates will be advertised.
Mr Monteith said the road needs to be widened by two metres to allow for the extra lanes and footpath, and the aim is to affect as few property owners and residents possible.
“To do this, the decision was made to widen Nixon Street along its northern side, rather than widening it on both sides.
“There are fewer houses on the Northern side because some of its length is taken up by road at the intersections where Nixon Street intersects with Elizabeth Street and Princess Street. We also own two properties on this side of the road.
“At the Kensington Avenue/Kamo Road intersection we will be using part of the Northland Regional Council carpark around the Countdown supermarket.
“At the Mill Road/Nixon Street intersection, a number of units will be removed from the retirement village. Two will be relocated within the complex and upgraded, one new unit will be built and the layout and parking will be improved.
Mr Monteith said the project was expected to cost approximately $7million. Work would begin in October 2014.
20 Year plan
“These are the final projects on a 20-year road improvement project started in 1996,” said WDC CEO Mark Simpson.
“We started working on a long term plan back in 1995 with the Whangarei 20/20 Central Area Concept Report. Up to 40% of the traffic in the central business district was only travelling through to get from one side of the District to the other.
“Studies identified the work that would solve these issues most efficiently. The 20/20 Transport Plan was developed and following public consultation, the plan was adopted in 1996. We have been checking off those projects over the years since.”
Mr Simpson said a committee of Council was set up to drive the plan and approaches were made to Central Government for funding year-by-year.
“We achieved some early success, demonstrated the results to the public and reported back to central government. Staging the work over two decades meant our cases were consistently strong, our requests reasonable, and the whole package was cohesive. It laid the ground-work for several million dollars of grants from various government departments or ministries over the years.”
Mr Simpson said the major push for this funding was in the roading area, but the approach taken worked well across a wide range of Council controlled areas and strengthened bids for funding in other areas.
“The results have been huge developments in the past 20 years in water supply, sewage management, sporting and cultural facilities.
“When Te Matau a Pohe opened last year it left just this project (Nixon Street) to complete from the 20/20 Central Area Concept Report adopted in 1996. The NZTA has almost completed its work on the intersections of State Highways 1/14. Planning is advanced on improving the safety of the stretch of Western Hills Drive from Manse Street to Kensington Avenue, and work will be getting under way near South End Avenue," Mr Simpson said.