Tag­gers run amok on $1.4b mo­tor­way

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - SAMHEWAT

A $1.4 bil­lion trans­port project on Auck­land’s north­west­ern mo­tor­way has quickly be­come a tar­get for spray-paint­ing vandals, de­spite still be­ing un­der con­struc­tion.

Just weeks after be­ing in­stalled, large sound-proof­ing pan­els which flank up­graded sec­tions of the State High­way 16 mo­tor­way around Pt Che­va­lier and St Lukes have been plas­tered with graf­fiti.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately, the re­cently con­structed noise walls have at­tracted re­peated tag­ging ac­tiv­ity,’’ NZTA act­ing state high­ways man­ager Mieszko Iwaskow said.

‘‘In some less ac­ces­si­ble lo­ca­tions, traf­fic man­age­ment mea­sures are needed to safely ac­cess the site, which means it can take a lit­tle longer to get the clean-up done and re­move the graf­fiti.’’

The in­fra­struc­ture up­grade and road im­prove­ments are part of the Water­view Con­nec­tion Project - a mas­sive in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment cost­ing the Govern­ment $1.4b.

Paul Roe­beck from PC En­vi­ron­men­tal, a com­pany that han­dles graf­fiti re­moval around Auck­land, said the mo­tor­way was an ongoing tar­get for tag­gers who want their works to be seen.

‘‘They tar­get it be­cause it’s high pro­file, be­cause there’s so much traf­fic that sees it ev­ery day,’’ Roe­beck said.

‘‘The big­ger the risk, the higher ku­dos for them so they like to tar­get big ar­eas.’’ Auck­land Coun­cil al­most $18 mil­lion on spent graf­fiti clean-up be­tween 2014 and 2017, with an es­ti­mated bud­get of $4.5m over the next year.

The mo­tor­ways alone av­er­age be­tween 40 and 50 ‘graf­fiti strikes’ per month.

Sim­i­lar fig­ures on graf­fiti clean-up across Auck­land were re­ported in 2011, with $7.8m spent in cen­tral Auck­land, $5.8m in south Auck­land, $4.4m in west Auck­land and $1.7m on north­ern Auck­land.

The main in­fra­struc­ture of the Water­view Con­nec­tion is two 2.4km long tun­nels and four new ramps at the Great North Road mo­tor­way in­ter­change to pro­vide con­nec­tions be­tween the tun­nels and SH16.

The project is a key com­po­nent of the West­ern Ring Route (WWR), a 48 kilo­me­tre mo­tor­way be­tween Manukau in the south and Al­bany in the north of Auck­land, and is ex­pected to be com­pleted by around April.

SAM HEWAT/FAIRFAX NZ

New in­fra­struc­ture on Auck­land’s north­west­ern mo­tor­way has quickly be­come a tar­get for spray-paint­ing vandals.

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