Residents pack up
RESIDENTS of Waterview, Owairaka and surrounding suburbs will have to make plans for the $1.4 billion combined surface tunnel option announced on Wednesday, with some already packing their bags.
The New Zealand Transport Agency’s preferred option will see two tunnels and surface stretches of motorway link the final piece of the western ring route.
Hendon Ave resident Jonna Hawke says she is expecting a letter which will give her family three months to move from her state-owned house.
“It’s really upsetting,” she says. “It won’t be the cheaper option in the long run, it will break up communities,” she says.
Ms Hawke’s daughter has just started school and Housing New Zealand has told her they will shift the family within 4km of the school.
She expects to be in a new home by September or November.
Transport Minister Steven Joyce announced on Tuesday that a tunnel to complete the connection was not an affordable option and asked NZTA to look at three options and decide on a preferred route.
NZTA says the preferred route, which is three lanes each way, directly affects 365 properties, of which it already owns 126.
In addition, there will be about 111 strata titles, which means the house will be unaffected but the tunnel will run under the property.
NZTA board chairman Brian Roche says it went for an option which was affordable and could be completed on time.
“We believe it provides the best balance between the need to complete the western ring route in an affordable way as soon as possible with the needs of the communities the road will pass through,” he says.
Matt Adkins, Crystal McLeod and their son Kodyn have lived on Hendon Ave in Owairaka, which the route will run alongside, for almost a year and a half.
The family are planning a move to New Plymouth and says it may be a blessing in disguise.
“We are in the middle of packing,” says Mr Adkins.
Miss McLeod says she would have liked to have stayed in the house longer, but they will move within the next couple of weeks.
“It’s a bit of a rush. Housing New Zealand called in April and told us we would have to move at the end of June.”
The motorway is planned to go under Richardson Rd into Alan Wood Reserve, with a tunnel beginning just before New North Rd.
The 1.5km tunnel will run under Avondale Heights, emerging near the intersection of Blockhouse Bay Rd and Great North Rd.
The second proposed tunnel, between 700 metres and 800 metres, will lie under Great North Rd.
Residents at the Waterview end of the connection were not pleased about the new option either.
“I think it’s disgusting,” says Oakley Ave resident Irene Mansfield.
“There are streams of traffic.”
Miss Mansfield says she has put her life savings into her home, which backs on to Waterview School.
“I’m not in a state to pack up and go.”
She recently had her home valued but says: “Nobody will want to buy it now.”
Margi Watson of the Tun-
already nel or Nothing Group says about 70 percent of people supported the group’s views when it held a protest at the State Highway 20 open day last Saturday.
“I talked to about 100 people and most were supportive of a community and environment outcome.
“People don’t think the surface option is acceptable – the community has spoken.”
Packing: Hendon Ave residents Crystal McLeod and Matt Adkins say their recent decision to move out of Auckland may be a blessing in disguise.