MP calls out AT for abandoning traffic ‘blackspot’

The dangerous Chapel Road bridge is more than 60-years-old and was to have undergone a multi-million dollar upgrade. MP Jami-Lee Ross wants to change that. Photo supplied.

Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross isn’t giving up his fight to have safety improvements carried out to an east Auckland traffic blackspot.

Mr Ross says he’s disappointed Auckland Transport (AT) has chosen not to carry through with a proposed multi-million dollar upgrade of the Chapel Road bridge in Flat Bush.

He’s writing to Auckland mayor Phil Goff in an effort to have the decision reversed.

“I think it’s very unfortunate that AT has abandoned an important upgrade to a significant road in Flat Bush,” Mr Ross says.

“With considerable growth in Flat Bush, and many families moving to the area, road safety is particularly important.

“Chapel Road at that particular bridge is at rural road standard but it’s in a fast-growing urban environment.”

A 2017 AT report identified and recommended safety improvements to the Chapel Road bridge, which is more than six decades old.

The document stems from an assessment to determine the preferred option for changing the bridge.

AT identified a “significant safety concern” on the stretch of Chapel Road between Stancombe Road and Ormiston Road.

Mr Ross says crash data he received from the previous government showed there were 56 crashes on the section of road between 2006 and 2016.

There were 26 injury crashes, which included six serious injuries and four fatalities, as well as 30 non-injury crashes.

He’s disappointed AT has chosen not to fund the work as part of its latest Auckland Regional Land Transport Plan.

“This is a fast-growing area with multiple schools, a new town centre being built in Ormiston, and a premier park next door, yet we have a very old bridge built to rural standards.

“It has a dangerous dog-leg curve, no pedestrian facilities, and a crash record that would make anyone queasy.

“What is it going to take for AT to put some funding in to carry out an upgrade?”

Mr Ross says the bridge has safety issues that need to be addressed and it doesn’t meet the needs of the community’s road users.

“Several years ago the previous government and AT agreed to fund planning of initial works to the bridge with an eye to eventually upgrading it.

“I took the then-Associate Minister of Transport to see the bridge in 2017 because as a local Member of Parliament it was a high priority for transport safety funding at that time.

“An upgrade of the bridge was on the cards. I accept that the cost of building a bridge has increased, but I don’t think that’s sufficient reason for AT to have abandoned this project.”

The AT report states Chapel Road accommodates about 16,200 vehicles a day.

Eight different options for changing the bridge were included in the report, which recommended a network arch bridge with reduced width be progressed to the detailed design phase.

It was the option that “best addresses the issues and constraints identified in the report”, it states.