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Motorway network completion will help productivity

25 August 2005

Truckies: motorway network completion will help productivity

A government commitment to completing the western corridor within eight years would help overcome growing pessimism among Auckland’s freight operators over the long-term viability of their businesses.

“Currently we can make two trips to Hamilton from a South Auckland base in the same time as two trips to Henderson,” said Chris Carr, a freight industry representative on the Auckland Regional Land Transport Committee.

Over the past 10 years, Auckland’s trucking industry productivity has dropped by 40%, much of it due to Auckland’s traffic congestion.

“Until the western ring route is built, truckies have no choice – they must either use the heavily stressed Southern Motorway or take their chances across suburban streets and numerous intersections and traffic lights.”

“No one is surprised any longer when truckies and freight services don’t deliver on time. Ten years ago, a late delivery was seen as a problem, now it reflects a transport crisis that requires solving with a crisis management strategy,” he said.

“It is not good enough for Auckland to accept Transit’s assurances that it can complete the Western Ring Route in another 10 years, when in Sydney they are building similar motorways in 5-to-6 years.”

Freight operators in Auckland are becoming a weak link in a transport chain for Auckland’s exports and imports. “Costs are increasing. A consistent delivery on a motorway is more efficient than wasting time and petrol while at traffic lights.

“In 1990 my truck operators could do 8 trips a day around Auckland, where today they are lucky to do 5.” Reliable operating hours are now between 9am and 2.30pm, or outside peak hours at night.

Even a gain of 10 minutes per trip would be worthwhile, when multiplied over all of the users.

Until the Western Ring Route is completed, especially the Avondale link, there is no strategic alternative available to SH1, consequently there will be no relief for another 10 years under Transit’s current timetable.

In this time the growing demand will likely outstrip the gains form the new alternative, “and by then I should be retired, maybe even dead.”

It’s unfair and stupid to persist with a section-by-section approach to completing our core network, when the obvious solution is for Transit to be instructed to accelerate the programme.

ENDS

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