Transmission Gully will transform the tranquil acoustics of a rural Porirua property from "quiet library" to "busy shopping mall", say a couple living alongside the road's intended path.
Instead of listening to leaves rustling in the wind, David Christensen and his wife Cindy say they will be forced to live with a constant din from traffic on the proposed 27-kilometre four-lane expressway from McKays Crossing to Linden when it comes within 600 metres of their home on Paekakariki Hill Road.
A noise survey showed the sounds of nature, which reached 39 decibels, would be dominated by 56 decibels of traffic noise.
"The modelling that they [the New Zealand Transport Agency] had done showed it was going to change our environment from being essentially in a quiet library to being in a busy shopping mall," Mr Christensen said.
"That noise pollution is probably the worst aspect of it. One of the main reasons that we decided to buy a section out here and build our own house was because my wife and I have fairly hectic jobs and being able to come back here to the peace and quiet is exactly what we need."
The Christensens, who both work in IT, were not concerned about the effects of Transmission Gully when they built their home in 2003 as the road was originally hidden by hills.
But they were alarmed to see that the most recent plans have the road passing within 600m of their home.
Earthworks during construction, which is expected to take about six months in the area, could reach 59 decibels at their house.
Mr Christensen said inquiries about compensation for noise and depreciation of their property had been met with silence from NZTA.
Wellington state highways manager Rod James said it would be inappropriate to comment while the project was under consideration by an independent board of inquiry. He said the board would decide on what mitigation was appropriate and would consider construction and traffic noise.
Mr Christensen and two neighbours asked for the designation of the road to be changed in submissions lodged this week to the Environment Protection Authority, which is overseeing the board of inquiry process.
Sixty-seven submissions were received and 38 submitters requested to speak at the hearing which will be held in February.
Environment Minister Nick Smith referred the roading proposal to an independent board of inquiry in September under new rules to fast-track projects of national significance.
The board will make its final decision by June 15 and construction of the $1 billion road could start in 2015.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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