Home' The Wellingtonian : October 13th 2011 Contents OCTOBER 13, 2011
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5 Turnbull pic
9 Dining 10-11 Opinion
12 Wellingtonian interview 18-19 Arts 23-24 Sport
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Please sir, we need more
Council points to expensive Auckland tunnel projects
By JOSEPH ROMANOS
Wellington City Council is seeking
hundreds of millions of dollars
more from the Government for the
roading project around the Basin
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and
chief executive Gary Poole are
requesting a meeting with Trans-
port Minister Steven Joyce and
will point to massive roading
projects in Auckland as an
example of the sort of government
spending they are asking for.
We ll be making a strong case
to Government about the import-
ance of further investment in the
precinct surrounding Memorial
Park, Government House and the
Basin Reserve, Ms Wade-Brown
said. It is a nationally significant
area, so it stands to reason that
the Government should not short-
change this project.
She said the Government had
supported major undergrounding
projects in Auckland, such as Vic-
toria Park for $340 million and
Waterview for about $1.8 billion.
If the council does not secure
further government funding, it
seems almost certain that NZ
Transport Agency s Option A will
go ahead. This involves building a
flyover about 20 metres north of
the Basin Reserve.
The cost of the flyover is
budgeted at about $75 million.
There have been no definitive
costings supplied for the project
the council prefers, which involves
a tunnel from Buckle St under the
Basin Reserve to the approach of
Mt Victoria Tunnel. Estimates
have varied between $280 million
and $400 million.
NZTA state highways manager
Rod James said extensive
investigations into tunnelling
between Buckle St and the Mt
Victoria Tunnel had been carried
When proposing options to
improve congestion around the
Basin, two key factors helped
guide our decisions: whether an
option was the right solution, and
whether it was affordable.
A tunnel did not meet either
He said tunnelling under the
Basin was difficult because it used
to be a lagoon, and sat at the
bottom of a valley.
It still has a very high water
table, which makes tunnelling a
very difficult, potentially danger-
ous and expensive exercise, Mr
The city council debated the
issue at length at its strategy and
policy committee meeting last
Thursday while preparing its
roading submission to NZTA.
It voted to support some sort of
roading changes around the Basin
and submitted that Option A was
preferable to the agency s other
flyover suggestion, but with sev-
eral provisos designed to reflect
the importance of the location.
However, the council voted 8-7
to add a note to the submission,
stating the council s preference for
a tunnel from Buckle St to Mt Vic-
It was Ms Wade-Brown who
pushed for the tunnel preference
to be added to the submission.
Tarting up the flyover option is
like putting lipstick on a gorilla,
Wellington Regional Council is
finalising its submission this
week, but its draft submission
supports the Option A flyover.
The regional council says the
cost of a tunnel is too great.
Neither council backed the
Architecture Centre s Option X.
Mr Joyce was unavailable for
comment. He is in Tauranga deal-
ing with the oil leak situation in
Bay of Plenty.
Party time: Three ''visitors from
Wales'' dressed up to support their
team during the quarterfinal Rugby
World Cup match between Ireland
and Wales at Wellington Stadium
Wellingtonians and visitors to the
city have been partying hard since
the World Cup began.
Although there are no more
games in Wellington, people can
watch the semifinals and final on
the large screens in the FanZone
and Town Hall. In this weekend's
semifinals, France play Wales on
Saturday and New Zealand play
Australia on Sunday.
See editorial page 10.
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