East West Link faces heavy opposition
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.
A view of how the Neilson Street Interchange could look.