Council wants towers removed
Auckland Council has raised concerns about the future of transmission towers in Onehunga.
Auckland Council has been pushing for the New Zealand Transport Agency ( NZTA) and national grid operator Transpower to remove transmission towers near State Highway 20 as part of the proposed $1.8 billion East West Link transport project.
The East West Link, which has been identified as one of the Government’s roads of national significance and will connect State Highway 1 at Sylvia Park to SH20 at Onehunga, is before a board of inquiry until August 25.
Alongside that, last week Mayor Phil Goff called on Transpower to start a progressive programme removing old transmission towers and taking lines underground, particularly in environmentally sensitive places.
Some of Auckland’s communities carried the burden of overhead lines disproportionately, Goff said.
‘‘I’m thinking of Onehunga Bay where we’ve got three sets of lines going across there. They’re all pretty old, they will need replacement,’’ he said.
All new transmission lines built by Transpower within urban areas are placed under- ground, but old lines that are moved don’t have to be taken underground.
While it was expensive Goff called on Transpower to start putting old lines underground to improve the aesthetics of the community.
Transpower chief executive Alison Andrew said the decision to relocate them was a financial one.
Transpower also told council NZTA planned to move other transmission towers between Hugo Johnston Dr and SH1 rather than remove them, subject to the approval of the East West Link project.
Auckland Councillor Denise Lee said she was surprised by the plans.
‘‘The concept of moving is new. As far as I’m concerned it’s not good enough,’’ Lee said.
Information provided by Transpower said it would cost $14 million to move the towers and $19 million to put the lines underground, Lee said.
However, at the East West Link inquiry Transpower’s manager of transformation Roy Noble said burying the lines was seven to 10 times more expensive than overhead transmission lines.
Three sets of lines go across Onehunga Bay Reserve near Manukau Harbour.