Hear­ings set to start for $1.8b road

Western Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JACK­SON THOMAS

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

Hear­ing dates:

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.

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