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NZTA moving forward with Waterview Connection

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The New Zealand Transport Agency is moving forward with the next steps on the Waterview Connection on the SH20 Western Ring Route following confirmation of a revised alignment and tunnelling options in December 2009.

The New Zealand Transport Agency is moving forward with the next steps on the Waterview Connection on the SH20 Western Ring Route following confirmation of a revised alignment and tunnelling options in December 2009.

The NZTA is now carrying out geotechnical studies and continuing with design work on the project, and expects to lodge an application with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) by June this year to advance the project by using the new national consenting process of the Resource Management Act, introduced by Government last year to streamline the decision-making process on matters of national significance.

Using the new national consenting process for the project would replace the usual two-step process of a council hearing followed by an Environment Court hearing with either a single hearing before a board of inquiry, or a direct referral to the Environment Court.

NZTA Regional Director for Auckland and Northland Wayne McDonald says completing the Western Ring Route is crucial for New Zealand’s economic development.

“This route was identified by Government last year as one of the country’s seven Roads of National Significance, and completing it will provide huge benefits for Auckland and New Zealand. The Waterview Connection is the final missing link to unlock its full benefits. We believe the revised alignment announced last December provides the best balance between the need to complete the Western Ring Route in an affordable way as soon as possible and addressing needs of the communities the road will pass through.”

Mr McDonald said that while completing the Western Ring Route was crucial for the region’s economic development, at a local level there was no easy way to achieve it.

“Any major infrastructure project built in suburban Auckland will always be challenging and this one is especially so because the route to connect the highway network has never been clearly defined.”

Mr McDonald said that the use of the new national consenting process would not affect the NZTA’s approach to consultation with those affected by the project.

“We recognise that this project will have a significant impact on the community and we are committed to continuing to work closely with residents on how it can best be integrated with the surrounding urban area.”

In December 2009 the NZTA Board announced that design improvements for the Waterview Connection will require fewer houses and significantly reduce disruption to residents and commuters on Great North Road.

This alignment for SH20 from Mt Roskill to the Northwestern Motorway will reduce the number of houses affected to 205 compared to the estimate of 365 when the combined surface tunnel option was announced in May 2009.

The revised alignment allows the SH20 route to be shortened while making the tunnelled section deeper and longer. This refinement to the combined surface-tunnel route means the tunnels will be continuous from where they go underground in Alan Wood Reserve to where they rise to the surface to meet SH16 at Waterview Park. It will eliminate the previous gap between the two tunnelled sections.

Mr McDonald said building the tunnels further east without a gap between them was the most cost effective option for constructing this section while also responding well to community concerns with the previous proposal.

Keeping the tunnels deeper meant they could be extended further north which significantly reduces disruption on Great North Rd.

Construction on the project is likely to start in mid to late 2011 with an anticipated completion date in the 2015/16 financial year.

Updated project summaries available from the following project subsite:

Resource Management Act national consenting process - questions and answers (PDF, 41KB)

For more information contact:

Ewart Barnsley                                      
Auckland Media Manager                                                          
New Zealand Transport Agency                         
T: 09 368 2142                                               
M: 027 213 7616  
E: ewart.barnsley@nzta.govt.nz

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