Basin Flyover draft decision due today

MICHAEL FORBES
Last updated 11:26 22/07/2014

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The draft decision on Wellington's controversial Basin Reserve flyover will be released today.

The four-member board of inquiry will release the draft after spending four months hearing the arguments on the proposed $90 million project.

The New Zealand Transport Agency wants resource consent to build a 265-metre elevated highway 20 metres north of the historic Basin Reserve cricket ground, linking the Mt Victoria Tunnel to Buckle St, which emerges from under the newly built National War Memorial gardens.

The flyover, which forms part of Wellington's road of national significance, would be two lanes wide and carry westbound State Highway 1 traffic only.

Affected parties will have 20 days to comment before a final decision is made on August 30.

Further appeals can be made to the High Court, but only on the grounds the board did not follow the correct legal process.

The flyover was first mooted by the Government in 2009 alongside a number of projects that will form a four-lane, 110-kilometre-long expressway between Wellington Airport and Levin, known as the Wellington Northern Corridor.

The Kapiti Expressway and Transmission Gully are other components.

Because of its proximity to the cricket ground, it has caused controversy since the outset.

Wellington City Council eventually supported the plan provided a new 65-metre pavilion was built to block the flyover from view inside the ground.

A group called Save the Basin argued a flyover was not necessary because two other Wellington Northern Corridor projects - the Buckle St Underpass and a second Mt Victoria Tunnel - would solve much of the congestion plaguing the Basin, and widening the road around the ground and improving intersections would improve traffic flow.

The Architectural Centre said it had designed a superior alternative to the flyover, known as Option X, but said the transport agency did not put enough effort into making it because it was set on the flyover.

The transport agency said Option X but it did not stack up from a transport, cost or visual viewpoint, and it dismissed Save the Basin's plans as a "patchwork repair" that would need to be revisited in a few years.

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- The Dominion Post

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