No Economic Rationale For $760m Warkworth Toll Road

The following letter from the Campaign for Better Transport appeared in the NZ Herald today:

Like many, I suspect, correspondent Nick Cottle believes that economic benefits will flow from the NZ Transport Agency’s proposed toll road from Puhoi to the north of Warkworth.

In reality, NZTA have not provided any economic evidence in support of the toll road to the Board of Inquiry which is considering the project.

Projected travel time savings to Warkworth, Omaha and other Eastern Beaches are forecast to be only one or two minutes faster on completion of the toll road, outside of holiday periods. This is because the fastest route to these destinations will be the existing State Highway 1, rather than the toll road itself which has a northern junction almost two kilometres to the north of Warkworth.

Trips between Puhoi and north of Warkworth will only achieve travel time savings four minutes faster than currently, for those willing to pay the as yet unspecified toll. During holiday periods a bottleneck is likely to occur at the Northern junction of the project where three lanes merge into one.

With these sorts of miniscule travel time savings, it is little wonder that the NZTA have not been able to produce an economic business case for the $760m project.

I’ve posted more detail on this over at TransportBlog.