Aucklanders fuming after Meola Road to be closed over summer

Auckland Transport said the closure was necessary because of the amount of work that needed doing.
Auckland Transport said the closure was necessary because of the amount of work that needed doing. Photo credit: Getty Images

By Katie Fitzgerald of RNZ

Auckland residents are annoyed a popular road linking the suburbs of Westmere and Grey Lynn with Point Chevalier will be closed over summer.

Meola Road, which also provides access to Seddon Fields and Meola Reef, will be closed from mid-December until early February, much to the frustration of its users.

The road was being upgraded to give it better drainage, underground powerlines and more access for cyclists.

The construction phase was already underway, but over summer it would require the road to be completely shut off.

Residents would still be able to get to their homes, but a detour would be required to travel from Point Chevalier to Westmere.

On top of that, access to the Seddon Fields football facility would change, and vehicle access to the Meola Reef dog park would be removed entirely.

Pack dog walker Emily regularly took dogs to the park. She said she would need to completely change her routine.

"We walk a pack of dogs almost every day and I don't see it possible walking around six dogs on leads across a road, a busy road."

Maya, who brought a trio of small dogs to the park, was in the same boat.

"Honestly if it's a hassle, then I probably wouldn't even bother. 'Cause if you're a dog trainer down here or a dog walker, you're usually training or have got some dogs in training and just having roadworks and all that type of stuff is not very helpful."

Auckland Transport head of construction projects Mark Banfield said the closure was necessary because of the amount of work that needed doing, and it had been timed to coincide with the lowest traffic volumes.

"We're closing the road to through traffic, and that's needed because it's a full road renewal project essentially as well as significant stormwater upgrade and cycleway improvements."

He said planning for the project had taken into account possible delays, so he expected the road to reopen no later than early February.

Waitematā Local Board chair Genevieve Sage said there was some disagreement in the community when planning was underway, but many residents understood improvements had to be made.

"We hear from one side that perhaps it's a bit disruptive and we hear from another side that it's really something that needs to happen, the road needs to be improved."

She said the community would benefit.

"There'll be cycle paths. It'll be accessible for multi-mode. I think it will have a positive impact on the surrounding community. It's just sometimes there has to be a little pain for long-term gain."

In the meantime locals like Belle, who visited Meola Reef with her dog Lenny, would be looking for somewhere else to go.

"It's highly inconvenient, because for me this would be my local park, and I think we come here like three or four times a week at least. So, I actually don't know what I would do if access is closed. I'd probably have to find somewhere else."

The road will close on 15 December.

While the road is closed, Meola Reef would be accessible on foot and paw, and Seddon Fields would be accessible via the Old Mill Road entrance.