Taggers run amok on $1.4b motorway
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.
New infrastructure on Auckland’s northwestern motorway has quickly become a target for spray-painting vandals.