Hearings set to start for $1.8b road
Aucklanders get the chance to have their say on another major roading project as the East West Link proposal goes to a board of inquiry.
The $1.8 billion road would be New Zealand’s most expensive roading project ever, eclipsing the soon-to-be opened Waterview Connection which cost $1.4b.
The four-lane link was identified as one of the Government’s roads of national significance and would connect State Highway 1 at Sylvia Park to State Highway 20 at Onehunga.
The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) said the project was designed to ease congestion and improve travel times between the Onehunga to Penrose industrial hub.
The area employed about 68,000 people and contributed $4.6b a year to Auckland’s economy, it was claimed.
‘‘It will improve travel times, making it easier
‘‘[It will make] it easier and more reliable for local business owners.’’
and more reliable for local business owners, freight and customers to get into and out of the Onehunga-Penrose area,’’ its website said.
The board of inquiry was set to run from June 27 to August 25 and a final decision was expected by November 22 with construction to be completed by 2025 if the project was approved.
The hearing would take place at the Ellerslie Events Centre.
Auckland Councillor Chris Darby said delays with the opening of the Waterview Connection meant traffic data could have been collected and used at the hearing, was now not available.
Traffic modelling for the East West Link factored in traffic modelling for the Western Ring Route, of which the Waterview Connection was a key component, Darby said.
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) released a report earlier this year showing 685 people submitted on the East West Link.
The number of submissions that opposed the project was 582, or 85 per cent.
In November, Maungakiekie-Tamaki councillor Denise Lee and Maungakiekie MP Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga both expressed concerns about the design of the project and the amount of public consultation and transparency
October 9 – The board will release a draft decision.
November 8 – Comments on the draft are due. November 22 – Final decision. It will be sent to submitters and the applicant and released to the public through the EPA website.