Basin flyover start set for 2014

Last updated 05:00 02/07/2011

Basin reserve flyover - a virtual drive

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The New Zealand Transport Agency wants to build a $75 million Basin Reserve flyover in Wellington spanning about 380 metres from the Mt Victoria Tunnel to the start of Buckle St.

It would provide two lanes of east-bound traffic about eight metres above ground level. The road would be 12m wide.

A 3m wide "clip-on" cycle and pedestrian lane could also be included on the flyover for an additional $8m.

The public can have its say from today on the proposal, which is included among the Transport Agency's inner-city transport network improvements.

It would require the relocation of a former Home of Compassion creche, which has a category 1 listing with the Historic Places Trust, from its site in Buckle St.

A second more-expensive option at $90m would involve a 440m-long flyover about 65 metres north of the Basin Reserve, which could also have a 3m-wide clip-on pedestrian cycleway.

The back-up option would require the Transport Agency to buy properties in Hania St, including Wellington Regional Wines and Spirits.

Shop owner Moira Gaffney said the wine shop would also be affected under the cheaper proposal.

"We would definitely have to move under one of the proposals, and would be severely impacted in the other ... in reality we would probably have to move."

However, she is unsure whether her submission would oppose the flyover. "I can't say that today. It is a difficult and complicated situation."

Both options would result in the demolition of the Transport Agency-owned earthquake-prone buildings on the corner of Ellice St.

The decision to separate traffic was made as part of the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan which was agreed to in 2007 after extensive public consultation.

The Transport Agency's central regional director, Jenny Chetwynd, said it rendered useless any criticism that only flyover options have been made available for consultation.

"We need to bring options that we are prepared to build and we can support. There is no use consulting on things that we don't [support]. That would increase expectations unnecessarily."

The improvements are consistent with the airport plan, Ms Chetwynd said.

"[The plan] is a package of measures that will improve transport in the city by improving inner-city traffic flows facilitating the council's existing and future public transport systems and improving walking and cycling facilities in the city."

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said a flyover shadowing the Basin Reserve missed an opportunity to create a lasting legacy for the city.

"I will be proposing to the NZTA that options other than flyovers near the Basin – a cut and cover option for example – also be considered. As a capital city we're already thinking towards 2040 and the Wellington we want to shape."

Ms Chetwynd said the roading improvements not only catered for existing traffic and commerce, but would help grow it in the future.

Wellington Airport chief executive Steve Fitzgerald said passenger numbers were forecast to double to 10 million by 2030. The roading improvements would allow the airport to generate 11,500 new jobs and pump $1.6 billion annually into the regional economy.

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"Reducing congestion along this route and providing capacity for growth is critical to the economic future of Wellington.

"We are supportive of the process and proposed initiatives to promote public transport and make it easier and safer for everyone to travel."

Work on the flyover is scheduled to start about 2014. It would be carried out alongside interim improvements to Ruahine St, which would be four-laned to accommodate the additional traffic the Basin improvements are expected to generate.

Extensive work, which includes up to seven lanes on some stretches of Ruahine St and Wellington Rd, the demolition of Badminton Hall and 25 homes, and the installation of traffic lights at key intersections, would be carried out at a later date.

Other measures in the multi-model transport package, which could cost up to $600m to complete, include a new pedestrian and cycle path between Cobham Dr and the Basin Reserve.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said spending hundreds of millions of dollars would "turn part of our city into a car slum".

"It is people, not cars, who make the economy run. Against the council's vision of a smart green city, we have [Transport Minister Stephen] Joyce's vision for a dumb grey city."

The Transport Agency will send consultation documents to every Wellington household and an information centre will operate from the Basin Reserve.

Option A

$75 million

Could also include an additional $8m clip-on pedestrian/cycleway

Is 20 metres north of the Basin Reserve

Would require a heritage-listed former creche to be relocated

Is 380 metres long

Includes improved dropoff area for school pupils

Option B

$90 million

Could also include an additional $8m clip-on pedestrian/cycleway

Is 65 metres north of the Basin Reserve

Would require the demolition of buildings in Hania St

Is 440 metres long

Could incorporate a new building on the corner of Ellice St

- The Dominion Post


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