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Technofreak

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#298613 1-Jul-2022 11:52
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Hardly a week goes by without there being a news article about the New Zealand Transport Agency/Waka Kotahi taking the easy way out of doing their job. 

 

https://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/300622596/locals-angry-as-section-of-main-highway-near-hamilton-likely-to-be-closed-permanently?dicbo=v2-f2761f0e8efcd8649bdbae171500c403

 

If NZTA and Kiwi Rail cannot build a railway crossing that doesn't fall apart they shouldn't be in business. To inflict the inconvenience they are proposing onto the local population is a disgusting abdication of their respective roles.

 

I'm not a local but know the area well and I would be very unhappy if I lived in the area.

 

This isn't the only example of a disruptive road closure in the Waikato because it was "too hard" for the roading authorities and Kiwi rail to fix the problem.





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trig42
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  #2937023 1-Jul-2022 12:08
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Wondered why 1B had that closed section the last time I tried to go that way.

 

I guess they can't reopen it now until they fix it, though in a couple of weeks time, the demand for that road will drop significantly (when the Hamilton section of the expressway opens).


 
 
 

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Technofreak

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  #2937077 1-Jul-2022 12:31
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trig42:

 

Wondered why 1B had that closed section the last time I tried to go that way.

 

I guess they can't reopen it now until they fix it, though in a couple of weeks time, the demand for that road will drop significantly (when the Hamilton section of the expressway opens).

 

 

Yep, wondered the same but I rarely travel that route.

 

The demand will drop significantly when the expressway opens but it's still a significant route for the locals. With the drop in demand the problems caused by the big trucks and the amount of traffic will disappear making fixing the problem a whole lot easier yet NZTA are still proposing closing the road. I can see why they may have closed it temporarily but a permanent closure doesn't add up.





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nickb800
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  #2937081 1-Jul-2022 12:36
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The article clearly states that it's not that they can't do it, it's that they can't find a cost effective solution. The article mentions are large Sounds like the tracks are physically secure, but the geometry of the road means that trucks are grinding on the crossing which moves the tracks, and fixing that would involve a big realignment of the tracks, the road, or a combination. And you still end up with a fairly dangerous intersection with no room for trucks to wait for a gap in the traffic. And traffic volumes are going to go through the floor as the expressway opens. 

 

Ultimately they are spending our money so I'm happy with them saying no to expensive upgrades to soon-to-be little used roads, when there is a close alternative. There are plenty of examples of partial motorway interchanges which mean people have to make 10 min detours between places that are close as the crow flies, so it's not without precedent - money is limited, so we need to make tough calls




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  #2937093 1-Jul-2022 12:58
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nickb800:

 

The article clearly states that it's not that they can't do it, it's that they can't find a cost effective solution. The article mentions are large Sounds like the tracks are physically secure, but the geometry of the road means that trucks are grinding on the crossing which moves the tracks, and fixing that would involve a big realignment of the tracks, the road, or a combination. And you still end up with a fairly dangerous intersection with no room for trucks to wait for a gap in the traffic. And traffic volumes are going to go through the floor as the expressway opens. 

 

Ultimately they are spending our money so I'm happy with them saying no to expensive upgrades to soon-to-be little used roads, when there is a close alternative. There are plenty of examples of partial motorway interchanges which mean people have to make 10 min detours between places that are close as the crow flies, so it's not without precedent - money is limited, so we need to make tough calls

 

 

Close alternative? That's very dependant on what you might call close. I don't think anyone living in that area would agree.

 

To my knowledge this has only become a problem quite recently. The route has always been an important arterial route which has become gradually busier and busier. Some thing has changed for there to be a problem.  

 

To say it will now be a little used road is understating things some what. To also justify closing the road just because it's not without precedent is a cop out. This isn't a closure because the roading infrastructure in the area has changed, it's just a lazy mans way out. This piece of road has been there there for many many years and now all of a sudden it cannot be maintained adequately. Pull the other one.





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WyleECoyoteNZ
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  #2937094 1-Jul-2022 12:58
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Slamming Waka Kotahi isn't really fair.

Yes, they've been maintaining the road, but the Road is owned by Waikato District Council.

But then Kiwirail raised the rail, probably without addressing the crossing at the same time.

As the fella in the story says, all 3 parties need to work together for a solution

Scott3
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  #2937112 1-Jul-2022 13:14
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I think it is fairly prudent behavior Waka Kotahi. Repeating the same fix that has failed three times already is not good use of taxpayer money.

 

With the opening of the Hamilton expressway this month, SH 1B will start to have the traffic profile of a minor local road, rather than the than a main long distance route.

 

And it is appropriate to assess the value of a longer term fix to the vs the utility that the road link provides. Taxpayer money and all that.

 

Likewise little point fixing up the detour route from truck damage until the trucks are rolling on the expressway.

 

 

 

Location in question is here:

 

https://goo.gl/maps/jJrB11hqzCP7AqHS9

 

 

 

Note the railway track elevation is high compared to the surrounding roads.

 

Perhaps once the expressway is opened, some kind of long vehicle ban could be considered. Truck volume is going to be very low anyway, and the key issues seem to be long trucks damaging the rails, and the tight clearance (A 12m truck would fit fine, but not a 22m one...) between the railway and the parallel road.

 

 

 

I understand the road is owned by the local council, but managed by Waka Kotahi at the moment. I imagine that with it's use pattern going back to local, control will be passed back to the council and the 1B designation removed. But in that light it does seem a bit poor for Waka Kotahi to give the road back broken.


Technofreak

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  #2937115 1-Jul-2022 13:22
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WyleECoyoteNZ: Slamming Waka Kotahi isn't really fair.

Yes, they've been maintaining the road, but the Road is owned by Waikato District Council.

But then Kiwirail raised the rail, probably without addressing the crossing at the same time.

As the fella in the story says, all 3 parties need to work together for a solution

 

Fair enough if it was Kiwi Rail that made the changes causing the problem. I didn't see any reference to that. It certainly explains how the problem has occurred. Then why doesn't NZTA make Kiwi Rail fix the problem rather than just walking away from the problem.

 

Yes, the road is "owned"  by the WDC but since it's currently designated a State highway NZTA are responsible for it until that designation is revoked, which I guess will be after the expressway opens then responsibility for the road will revert to WDC.

 

As the WDC mayor said it's a bit like your neighbour borrowing you mower, breaking it then returning it to you in a broken state. Surely NZTA have a responsibility to hand back the road in the same state as when they took it over?

 

So we have two government agencies/SOE's who are prepared to shirk their responsibilities.

 

 





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cruxis
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  #2937117 1-Jul-2022 13:25
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Um What about putting up a No Trucks Sign...


nickb800
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  #2937137 1-Jul-2022 13:33
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10 mins is a totally viable detour - don't get me wrong it would be a pain - but totally viable especially in the context of a rural area where very few journeys would be directly from one side of the crossing to the other as there are few popular destinations/origins in the immediate vicinity. 10 minutes is literally the worst case - wanting to go from one side of the crossing to the other. I mean the argument in the article that 40 people use it in peak blueberry season isn't a convincing one for investing $100k's in it to to save them 10 minutes (based on the description of the work I'm sure the reference to $10k's was a typo). Most traffic that would use the crossing, particularly after the expressway opens, would have origins and destinations spread across a much broader area, so they could choose an alternative route with far less than a 10 minute detour.

 

I would like to think that when looking at a big investment for an upgrade like this (when there are viable detour alternatives), we would think about whether we would make that investment if the existing linkage wasn't in place. I.e. if that crossing never existed and the blueberry farmer went to Waka Kotahi to ask for a safe railway crossing for their 40 staff in peak season to save them 10 minutes, they would get laughed out of the room. I know that's a contrived example as there are broader road users than the blueberry farm, but the existing crossing is a sunk cost and any future investment should be justified on its own merits - number of users, travel time saved, safety impact, cost, etc - not just we had a crossing so we should always have a crossing, and spend whatever it needs to make it work.


Technofreak

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  #2937168 1-Jul-2022 14:36
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nickb800:

 

10 mins is a totally viable detour - don't get me wrong it would be a pain - but totally viable especially in the context of a rural area where very few journeys would be directly from one side of the crossing to the other as there are few popular destinations/origins in the immediate vicinity. 10 minutes is literally the worst case - wanting to go from one side of the crossing to the other. I mean the argument in the article that 40 people use it in peak blueberry season isn't a convincing one for investing $100k's in it to to save them 10 minutes (based on the description of the work I'm sure the reference to $10k's was a typo). Most traffic that would use the crossing, particularly after the expressway opens, would have origins and destinations spread across a much broader area, so they could choose an alternative route with far less than a 10 minute detour.

 

I would like to think that when looking at a big investment for an upgrade like this (when there are viable detour alternatives), we would think about whether we would make that investment if the existing linkage wasn't in place. I.e. if that crossing never existed and the blueberry farmer went to Waka Kotahi to ask for a safe railway crossing for their 40 staff in peak season to save them 10 minutes, they would get laughed out of the room. I know that's a contrived example as there are broader road users than the blueberry farm, but the existing crossing is a sunk cost and any future investment should be justified on its own merits - number of users, travel time saved, safety impact, cost, etc - not just we had a crossing so we should always have a crossing, and spend whatever it needs to make it work.

 

 

Ok, let's, for a minute, stop arguing the relative merit of fixing the problem. What about NZTA just doing the honourable thing and handing back the road in the same state as it was when they took it over? 





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RunningMan
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  #2937175 1-Jul-2022 14:41
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Most likely because handing it back in the same state is the same thing as repairing it and there hasn't yet been a cost effective solution to the problem.


Technofreak

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  #2937184 1-Jul-2022 14:53
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RunningMan:

 

Most likely because handing it back in the same state is the same thing as repairing it and there hasn't yet been a cost effective solution to the problem.

 

 

Cost effectivity is somewhat irrelevant IMO. If I break something I've "borrowed" I'm obliged to make it good no matter whether or not I think it's cost effective. If someone else has contributed to that breaking, in this case Kiwi Rail, I still have an obligation to get it sorted which may mean me paying to have it fixed, then taking it out of the other party or getting that party to do the decent thing right at the start.





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RunningMan
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  #2937193 1-Jul-2022 15:07
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But this goes directly back to the original point. If you borrow something and break it, it's your money. In this case, it's a public entity borrowing from another public entity. Either way, the tax payer or rate payer (or both) is going to foot the bill. As such, it seems prudent that large amounts of public money are not thrown at the problem without first considering all the options, one of which is to close the road.

 

As for cost effectiveness being irrelevant - this is public money being spent, cost effectiveness is extremely relevant.


Handle9
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  #2937200 1-Jul-2022 15:24
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Technofreak:

nickb800:


10 mins is a totally viable detour - don't get me wrong it would be a pain - but totally viable especially in the context of a rural area where very few journeys would be directly from one side of the crossing to the other as there are few popular destinations/origins in the immediate vicinity. 10 minutes is literally the worst case - wanting to go from one side of the crossing to the other. I mean the argument in the article that 40 people use it in peak blueberry season isn't a convincing one for investing $100k's in it to to save them 10 minutes (based on the description of the work I'm sure the reference to $10k's was a typo). Most traffic that would use the crossing, particularly after the expressway opens, would have origins and destinations spread across a much broader area, so they could choose an alternative route with far less than a 10 minute detour.


I would like to think that when looking at a big investment for an upgrade like this (when there are viable detour alternatives), we would think about whether we would make that investment if the existing linkage wasn't in place. I.e. if that crossing never existed and the blueberry farmer went to Waka Kotahi to ask for a safe railway crossing for their 40 staff in peak season to save them 10 minutes, they would get laughed out of the room. I know that's a contrived example as there are broader road users than the blueberry farm, but the existing crossing is a sunk cost and any future investment should be justified on its own merits - number of users, travel time saved, safety impact, cost, etc - not just we had a crossing so we should always have a crossing, and spend whatever it needs to make it work.



Ok, let's, for a minute, stop arguing the relative merit of fixing the problem. What about NZTA just doing the honourable thing and handing back the road in the same state as it was when they took it over? 



Then the complaint will be about them wasting money.

Technofreak

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  #2937207 1-Jul-2022 15:50
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RunningMan:

 

But this goes directly back to the original point. If you borrow something and break it, it's your money. In this case, it's a public entity borrowing from another public entity. Either way, the tax payer or rate payer (or both) is going to foot the bill. As such, it seems prudent that large amounts of public money are not thrown at the problem without first considering all the options, one of which is to close the road.

 

As for cost effectiveness being irrelevant - this is public money being spent, cost effectiveness is extremely relevant.

 

 

Which is all very easy to say when it's not your local government money that built that road to start with.

 

The WDC rate payers are also tax payers but they are getting the "opportunity" to pay twice while the rest of the taxpayers might get off scot free. They paid for the road to be built and now they are likely to pay again by being denied the use of it through third party actions.

 

I'm not a WDC ratepayer so I'm not affected but I don't think it's fair the ratepayers of the WDC are disadvantaged because another entity (NZTA) doesn't wish to remedy the situation. 

 

I think if you dig deep enough it is not public money that should be used to fix this. Taxpayers nor ratepayers should be paying, it should be Kiwi Rail which is an SOE and this should be part of their maintenance budget. Since this has occurred during NZTA's stewardship of this road it is NZTA's responsibility to make Kiwi Rail fix the problem however it seems that NZTA wants to shirk on it's responsibility.





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