The NZ Transport Agency is welcoming the Wellington City Council's decision to work closely with the Agency on the proposed inner city transport improvements through the establishment of a Councillor Advisory Group.
NZTA state highways manager Rod James says the group will provide information and advice to assist in the development of scheme designs for the transport improvements that are to be taken forward into the Resource Management Act approval process. The NZTA is also inviting Greater Wellington Regional Council to join this group.
Mr James says the group's initial focus will be providing input on the proposed improvements to State Highway 1 between Paterson and Tory Streets around the Basin Reserve.
"We're really pleased to be working together with council, and this group will provide advice and information to help further develop these important improvements. The council's knowledge and perspective will be valuable to us as we develop the scheme designs that are to be taken forward into the RMA approval process."
The NZTA is expecting to announce its key decisions around the options for grade separation at the Basin Reserve between Paterson and Tory Streets in the middle of the year, following its public engagement last year on two bridge options. Key announcements on the duplication of the Mt Victoria Tunnel project are expected to follow later in the year.
The project is a key part of implementing the Ngauranga to Airport Plan Corridor Plan, which is a multi-modal transport strategy agreed to in 2008 that is now been progressively implemented by Greater Wellington Regional Council, WCC, and the NZTA.
Mr James says the proposed improvements will help to improve travel around Wellington by improving capacity, relieving bottlenecks, freeing up road space for public transport, and providing a new, dedicated pedestrian and cycle path from Cobham Drive to the city. The NZTA sought feedback last year on the proposals, which also include a second Mount Victoria Tunnel, the widening of Ruahine St and Wellington Road.
Meanwhile, good progress has been made behind the scenes as the NZTA continues to develop its plans for the inner city improvements. Mr James says the NZTA are close to finishing assessing public feedback from last year's community engagement, and would be releasing a report summarising feedback shortly.
The NZTA was also making strong progress on geotechnical investigations, which was shedding valuable light on the ground conditions beneath the surface of State Highway 1 between Paterson and Tory Streets and the surrounding area.
The NZTA has also selected two construction consortiums to provide expert construction advice to help in the preparation of RMA applications for the Paterson to Tory Street improvements. The first consortium is Downer, HEB, URS and Tonkin and Taylor and the second one is Fulton Hogan and Opus.
Mr James says the NZTA is pleased to have such well respected constructors on board early, and their experience combined with input from the councils would be invaluable in helping to shape the proposals
The NZTA expects to lodge RMA applications for the Paterson to Tory Street improvements in the first quarter of 2013, and the applications for the duplication of the Mt Victoria Tunnel later in 2013. In each case the public will have further opportunity to have their say through the formal submission process.