Re­port: Breathe easy

Auckland City Harbour News - - Front Page - By Heather McCracken

AIR qual­ity will be the same or slightly bet­ter af­ter the open­ing of a new Waterview mo­tor­way tun­nel, a draft re­port shows.

The study used com­puter mod­el­ling to show the tun­nel will re­duce traf­fic on lo­cal roads, which will com­pen­sate for the tun­nel fumes.

But Waterview Pri­mary School still has con­cerns about traf­fic lev­els in the sub­urb and the site of the tun­nel vents, which could be 25 me­tres high.

It wants the New Zealand Trans­port Agency to com­mit to the more ex­pen­sive op­tion of fil­ter­ing the tun­nel fumes.

Board of trustees mem­ber Justin Newcombe says the re­port doesn’t look at how traf­fic pat­terns will change if the tun­nel is tolled.

He says some driv­ers will leave the mo­tor­way at Waterview in or­der to avoid the toll, putting more traf­fic on lo­cal roads.

“There’s no ref­er­ence to any­thing like that in their re­port,” he says.

Mr Newcombe also thinks the study may have un­der­es­ti­mated the num­ber of trucks us­ing the new route.

“They say in the re­port that a truck has 50 times the emis­sions of a nor­mal car,” he says. “That’s quite alarm­ing.” Waterview Pri­mary prin­ci­pal Brett Skeen says he still has “huge con­cerns”.

“We can’t un­der­stand why they can’t just fil­ter the air. That’s our bot­tom line, for the health of the peo­ple of Waterview and the chil­dren at the school.”

The study pro­duced for the New Zealand Trans­port Agency looked at 26 sen­si­tive sites around the tun­nel open­ings, in­clud­ing schools, child­care cen­tres and hos­pi­tals.

It found the air qual­ity at most lo­ca­tions would be the same or slightly bet­ter.

Lo­ca­tions very close to the tun­nel open­ings, where roads would be busier, would be slightly worse off.

Th­ese in­clude St Fran­cis Pri­mary School, which backs on to the north­west­ern mo­tor­way.

The mod­el­ling showed the mo­tor­way and some ar­te­rial roads, in­clud­ing Pt Che­va­lier Rd, Car­ring­ton Rd and Great North Rd, would have more traf­fic.

But the re­duc­tion on lo­cal roads means the over­all ef­fect is about the same level of air pol­lu­tion, even ac­count­ing for the tun­nel fumes.

Air qual­ity would be bet­ter with a three-lane tun­nel in each di­rec­tion, rather than two, be­cause traf­fic would flow freely and ve­hi­cles would stop and start less.

Fumes will be blown along the tun­nels in the di­rec­tion of traf­fic flow, and vented through stacks at each end.

Project man­ager Clive Fuhr says the study will be pre­sented to key stake­hold­ers and the com­mu­nity and the find­ings re­ported back to the board in Novem­ber.

He says there are still is­sues to work through around vent lo­ca­tion and de­sign.

“We’re try­ing to be trans­par­ent and help peo­ple un­der­stand the is­sue,” he says.

It’s ex­pected the no­tice of re­quire­ment for the tun­nel will be lodged with Auck­land City Coun­cil by the end of Novem­ber.

A pub­lic work­shop will be held at the Waterview Methodist Church to­mor­row at 7pm. The re­port is avail­able at www.nzta.govt.nz.

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