Greater Wellington council supports flyover

Affordability has won out over aesthetics with Greater Wellington regional council signing off its submission supporting Option A for the proposed Basin Flyover.

The council's economic wellbeing committee signed off the submission today, coming out in support of a $75 million flyover about 20 metres to the north of the Basin Reserve.

The decision was despite a bid by councillor Daran Ponter to change the submission to all for the New Zealand Transport Agency to further investigate the Architecture Centre alternative Option X, which would involve building a tunnel under Buckle St. The agency has estimated it would cost at least $200m.

Last week the city council called for the agency to consider an east-west tunnel. 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.

At this morning's meeting Mr Ponter argued a flyover would damage the aesthetic of the city, and it was backing the lesser option because it was cheaper.

''This is about Wellington, this is about urban form. An elevated road through the inner city is going to detract from the inner city and it's going to destroy a part of Wellington that many of us enjoy and respect.''

The merits and costs of Option X should be properly investigated so an informed decision could be made.

However, other councillors disagreed.

While a tunnel under the Basin or Option X would be better aesthetically the costs were so prohibitive that it was impractical and would take funding away from other projects, Paul Swain said.

''In my heart of hearts the tunnel is the preferred option, but as a former Minister of Transport I have to be honest and say it's just not affordable.''

Committee chairman Peter Glensor said he had also supported a tunnel, but had to accept it was not practical.

''While tunnelling was aesthetically a really good idea, both from an engineering and cost point of view we simply can't do it around the Basin Reserve.''

The committee voted to adopt the draft submission put forward by officers, which supported Option A.

The Transport Agency has also consulted on Option B, which would cost $90m and be 65m north of the Basin.

The submission also called for any flyover to be ''future- proofed'' so that a tunnel under Memorial Park could be built later, if money became available. The submission also supports spending an extra $8m on a clip-on pedestrian and cycling facility, saying it would be a ''missed opportunity'' otherwise.

The Options:


BASIN FLYOVER: OPTION A

  • $75 million
  • It is 20 metres north of the Basin Reserve and stretches 380m. Could also include an additional $8m clip-on pedestrian/cycleway.

BASIN FLYOVER: OPTION B

  • $90 million
  • It is 65m north of the Basin Reserve and is 440m long. Could also include an additional $8m clip-on pedestrian/cycleway.

EAST-WEST TUNNEL

  • No cost estimate yet, but a discarded option that included a similar tunnel was costed at between $200m and $280m.
  • Instead of a flyover, the road would run from Buckle St, underneath the Basin Reserve and join up with the Mt Victoria Tunnel approach on the other side.

OPTION X

  • $165 million project estimate.
  • A "cut and cover tunnel" from Sussex St to Taranaki St, with parks connecting Memorial Park and the Basin Reserve, and pedestrian overbridges at Sussex/Buckle St intersection.

Related stories:

Council seeks more money for Basin

Underpass v Overpass: The public weighs in - Submissions numbers for Option X

Flyover deal may include $11m stand

Flyover construction set to start in 2014

Dozens protest Basin flyover plan

The Dominion Post