Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown announces crackdown on city's 'excessive' road cones

Mayor of Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, Wayne Brown, wants to cut the number of road cones around the city.
Mayor of Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, Wayne Brown, wants to cut the number of road cones around the city. Photo credit: Getty.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown is fed up with road cones, and he's just announced a plan to reduce their numbers on the streets of Tāmaki Makaurau.

The Mayor's demands come as Auckland Council has to find $500 million to cover its share of the City Rail Link's ballooning cost overruns.

Brown says he's confident he can turn around the Auckland Council Group's approach to temporary traffic management, hoping to slash the annual $145 million spend by the collective.

A "couple of hissy fits" later and Auckland Transport (AT) seems to be listening, he told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking this morning.

Aside from the cost, Brown said he wants to reduce road closures, slash the number of "excessive" road cones used, and give fines to contractors for taking up too much road space.

"It's got completely annoying. Cones everywhere!"

Utility companies such as Vector and Chorus "have seen a massive increase in traffic management costs that no doubt contribute to higher charges for Auckland households," said the Mayor.

Last week, Brown asked AT to work closely with Waka Kotahi, Chorus, Vector, and Watercare on a  traffic management trial - and it seems they're now on board with the idea.

The Mayor wants to immediately start a 6-month trial using the new Waka Kotahi traffic management guidelines.

He told Newstalk ZB the issue has "been annoying me for a long time".

The trucks "covered in cones" are planted "wherever" and the contractors "charge like hell," the Mayor said.

Newstalk ZB host Mike Hosking pointedly asked the mayor if road workers are the "worst people on the road - most arrogant people on the road you've ever seen?"

Brown said they were the "most annoying" because they "insist on driving about 10 km/h".

A spokesperson for electricity utility company Vector said the company spends about $30 million annually on traffic management, a big cost that also slows down its repair work.

"If this can be done more efficiently while maintaining safety, we are very supportive," of a new approach to trraffic management and the 6-month trial, they said.

The Mayor has also commissioned an independent report to assess pros and cons of the different approaches.

While road repair and maintenance is "essential and unavoidable," and some disruption is acceptable, Brown argues the "price we pay is too high."

The current approach means closing lanes and laying road cones, no matter whether it's for events or road maintenance in the city or the countryside.

Brown argues excessive road cones are due to overly-prescriptive rules, which don't change based on risk.

In other transport changes announced by the Mayor last week, bus reliability improvements are coming in April, when AT is set to trial GPS tracking and bus-priority at key intersections.

"It's been a devastating start to the year, but it feels good to start making progress and building momentum around delivering on my promises to Aucklanders," Brown said.

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