East West Link faces heavy op­po­si­tion

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - TOM CARNEGIE

Pub­lic sub­mis­sions over­whelm­ingly op­pose plans for New Zealand’s most ex­pen­sive road­ing project ever.

The En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Author­ity (EPA) re­leased a re­port ear­lier this month show­ing 685 peo­ple sub­mit­ted on the New Zealand Trans­port Agency’s $1.85 bil­lion East West Link.

The num­ber of sub­mis­sions op­pos­ing the project in full or in part was 582, or 85 per cent.

The East West Link is a cen­tral Auck­land road­ing project that aims to ad­dress trans­port is­sues be­tween ma­jor in­dus­trial hubs in the city.

Part of the project in­cludes putting a four lane road be­tween the ex­ist­ing State High­way 20 Neilson St in­ter­change in One­hunga and State High­way 1 at Mt Welling­ton.

The One­hunga stage of the project has been marred by con­tro­versy with res­i­dents say­ing there has been a lack of con­sul­ta­tion and trans­parency by NZTA.

In Novem­ber Maun­gakiekie MP Sam Lotu-Iiga said he would be meet­ing with NZTA to ex­press his con­cerns about the project.

‘‘It is im­por­tant that NZTA work with the lo­cal com­mu­nity to en­sure that the East West Link meets both the trans­port needs of Auck­land and im­proves traf­fic flows for One­hunga and the re­gion.

The two main is­sues ex­pressed by sub­mit­ters was ‘‘ac­cess con­cerns’’ and ‘‘con­sid­er­a­tion of al­ter­na­tives’’, the EPA re­port said.

It said one of the main is­sues was the sev­er­ance along the the coastal edges of the East West Link.

Jim Jack­son from the One­hunga En­hance­ment So­ci­ety said he was not sur­prised by the high num­ber of sub­mis­sions op­pos­ing the cur­rent plans.

‘‘There is real con­cern the cur­rent NZTA pro­posal does not pro­pose a cost ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion for a project that is es­sen­tially a foun­da­tion stone for the One­hunga com­mu­nity,’’ Jack­son said.

The so­ci­ety had cre­ated an al­ter­na­tive road­ing plan to NZTA’s East West Link that was based on con­sul­ta­tion with com­mu­nity mem­bers and busi­nesses, Jack­son said.

A hear­ing would likely be held in June or July, NZTA said.

SUP­PLIED

A view of how the Neilson Street In­ter­change could look.

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