10,000 road cones abandoned or stray on Auckland’s roads

10,000 road cones abandoned or stray on Auckland’s roads

Auckland can officially claim the title “city of cones” – with more than 10,000 members of the orange army believed abandoned or placed unofficially, on just 20% of the city’s roads.

Council agency Auckland Transport (AT) has just completed a trial round-up of abandoned “traffic management” equipment – mustering a total of 2,613 items from just one-fifth of the urban road network.

Two-thirds have been returned to their owners, while the rest will be recycled into matting for playgrounds and other items.

At $25-$35 a piece, that’s around $20,000-$30,000 of cones to go through the mincer.

“I am surprised really, it’s an interesting commercial question,” said Tracey Berkahn of AT.

The estimate doesn’t include a far greater number of cones in circulation on approved roadwork and construction sites.

Auckland Transport has created a dob-in-a-cone form on its website. As of Monday morning, it said 207 cones have been “removed” so far.

The cull is the start of AT ramping-up cone reduction, in response to calls from mayor Wayne Brown for fewer cones – including a reduction in the number needed for approved works.

AT will this month decide whether to do a similar sweep of the rest of the city’s urban roads, or, first negotiate with the traffic management sector on how to deal with the problem in future.

Auckland Transport/Supplied

A small part of 2,613 pieces of “traffic management equipment” mostly road cones, rounded up in a three-monthly pilot

Berkahn said AT had the power to charge people for leaving cones and other gear left lying around, but so far had not done so.

In the cone crackdown, AT hired a contractor to search 1,068km of roads in three wards – Albert-Eden-Roskill, Maungakiekie-Tāmaki and the North Shore. That means 80% of urban roads are still to be checked.

Previously, cone clearance had been less formal with a roster of contractors voluntarily picking up strays and leftovers.


Fulton Hogan has so far collected 10,500 bright orange cones nationwide (April 2023).

The two-month round-up netted mostly cones, but also traffic signs, the sandbags used to hold them in place, and other equipment.

Around two-thirds clearly showed who they belonged to, but one-third are thought to belong to private individuals or builders and other small firms.

The average number of items returned to each owner, was fewer than 20.

Brown has long complained about what he considered to be contractors coning off more road space than necessary and has directed AT to devise a more flexible temporary traffic management system, that required less space and fewer cones.