Councils clash over flyover options

KATIE CHAPMAN
Last updated 11:52 11/10/2011
Option X
Taken from http://architecture.org.nz Zoom
OPTION X: A private proposed option to the redevelopment of the Basin Reserve area. Tram stop.

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Wellington's regional council has backed a different Basin Reserve Flyover solution to the city council.

Greater Wellington regional council's draft submission comes out in support of Option A - a $75 million flyover about 20 metres to the north of the Basin Reserve.

The council labelled Option X too expensive.

It will consider the submission at a committee meeting this week.

The proposed submission flies in the face of Wellington City Council's position, adopted last week, which called for the New Zealand Transport Agency to build a tunnel beneath the Basin Reserve ahead of an 8-metre-high flyover.

The exact cost of a tunnel is unknown, but a discarded option that linked Patterson St with Buckle St had been estimated to cost up to $280m.

The Architecture Centre has also called for consideration of an alternative labelled option X, which would involve building a tunnel under Buckle St. The Transport Agency has estimated it would cost at least $200m.

In the draft submission Greater Wellington labelled the cost of a tunnel or option X too great.

But it was likely the council would have supported the east-west tunnel ''had it proved affordable'', the draft said.

''However, even if funding for these more expensive alternative options were made available through the national land transport fund, the region would need to consider the subsequent impact on funding availability for other regional transport projects, in the context of the priorities set out in the Wellington Regional Land Transport Strategy.''

But while Greater Wellington labelled the tunnel options too expensive, it did support spending an extra $8m on a clip-on pedestrian and cycling facility, saying it would be a ''missed opportunity'' if the facility wasn't added.

Councillors will debate the draft submission at the economic wellbeing committee meeting on Thursday.

The proposed flyover is part of a proposed development of the Buckle St to Cobham St stretch of State Highway 1 as part of the Levin to Wellington Airport Road of National Significance.

A second flyover option - option B - would cost $90m and would be about  65 metres north of the cricket ground.

Other parts of the project include a second Mt Victoria Tunnel and widening Ruahine St and Wellington Rd where there would be up to eight traffic lanes.

Work on the Basin project is scheduled to start in 2014 or 2015 and is expected to take two to three years to complete.

Related content:
Sean Plunket: Why I support the flyover
Wade-Brown's tunnel vision a power play
Editorial: Option X a waste of time

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- The Dominion Post

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