The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has welcomed the release of the Board of Inquiry's draft decision to approve the regulatory consents applications by the NZTA, Porirua City Council and Transpower for the Transmission Gully project.
The NZTA State Highway Manager Rod James said the NZTA will now study the particulars of the decision and refer back to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) with its comments within the 20-working day comment period.
The NZTA’s application was lodged in August last year together with other regulatory applications from the Porirua City Council and Transpower for the project. The NZTA’s application was for the main Transmission Gully route and the Kenepuru link road while the Porirua City Council’s application pertained to the planned link roads from the Transmission Gully route into Whitby and Waitangirua. Transpower’s application related to transmission tower relocation and strengthening that will be required along the Transmission Gully route as a result of the highway construction.
On 16 September 2011, the Minister for the Environment directed that the applications be referred to a Board of Inquiry for determination. The Board of Inquiry’s hearing on the Transmission Gully applications was conducted from 13 February 2012 to 14 March 2012.
The 27km Transmission Gully (MacKays to Linden) route is part of the Wellington Northern Corridor which runs from Levin to Wellington Airport. The Wellington Northern Corridor is one of seven ‘roads of national significance’ that the Government has identified as essential state highways which require upgrading to reduce congestion, improve safety and support economic growth in New Zealand.
An interchange will connect the Transmission Gully route to State Highway 58, with another interchange connecting to Porirua City Centre and Linden via the Kenepuru link road. In addition, two link roads will connect the eastern Porirua suburbs of Whitby and Waitangirua to the route via the planned James Cook interchange.
Public consultation in 2008 on the preferred route through Transmission Gully resulted in nearly 90% of respondents supporting the route now being progressed.
The new route is expected to cost $930 million (2011 dollars) to build subject to consent conditions, method of procurement and market conditions at the time of tendering.
The timetable for the Transmission Gully project sees construction beginning in 2015 and completed by 2021.