Shift saves 160 homes
MAJOR changes to the western ring route motorway alignment are being hailed as a positive step for the community.
The New Zealand Transport Agency announced late last month that the Waterview link will be built further east, with a deeper and longer tunnel than previously planned.
The changes will also see fewer houses affected by the route – 205 instead of 365.
Alignment changes are expected to shorten the State Highway 20 link and the tunnelled section will stretch from Alan Wood Reserve to Waterview, connecting Mt Roskill with the northwestern motorway.
The agency says design improvements will reduce disruption to residents and commuters on Great North Rd.
Avondale Community Board chairman Duncan MacDonald is thrilled with the changes and says it is a “win-win” compromise.
“These new plans are absolutely brilliant.
“There’s got to be a damn good compromise and this saves a couple of hundred houses in Waterview.
“The more underground the better,” he says.
“I hope the government doesn’t put its sticky beak in again and stuff it all up. The agency needs to go ahead and do it.”
Agency board chairman Brian Roche says there has been a concerted effort to minimise community impact through a better understanding of local geology.
“Building the tunnels further east without a gap between them can be completed within the original project budget and is the most cost-effective option for building this section, while also responding well to community concerns with the previous proposal.
Friends of Oakley Creek chairwoman Wendy John is pleased the tunnel will be constructed without cut and cover sections in the middle.
But she says she would like to hear more about mitigation and the motorway footprint and says there will still be a huge percentage of green space affected.
She believes the tunnel will be 30 to 40 metres underground while the Oakley Creek depth is just two to three metres.
“That’s a fairly significant depth,” she says of the tunnelling.
“But we don’t know what the stormwater runoff will be or if there will be flooding problems. There are a lot of unanswered questions, a lot of work to do.”
Tunnel or Nothing group spokeswoman Margi Watson says the revised plan is the wrong solution and still has huge environmental and community impacts.
“The only win is that they don’t build the tunnel.
“This is a step back from the initial proposal and there’s still a long way to go.”
But she acknowledges the decreased impact on Great North Rd and congratulates the agency for that.
Transport Minister Steven Joyce says he feels for owners of all affected properties but is pleased the community now has more certainty about what will be happening where.
More consultation is expected next month. Construction will start in midto2011, ending by 2016.