Flyover could cause more traffic jams

Concerns have been raised about whether the Basin Reserve flyover will cause traffic jams elsewhere across central Wellington.

The point was hammered by groups opposing the proposed two-lane highway flyover, 20 metres north of the Basin, at its board of inquiry hearing this morning.

Tom Bennion, lawyer for opposition group Save the Basin, grilled the flyover's project manager Selwyn Blackmore about concerns raised in a peer-review of the New Zealand Transport Agency's case for the $90 million project.

One of those concerns was that the flyover would "redistribute" more local traffic through the intersection where Vivian and Pirie streets meet Kent and Cambridge terraces.

According to the board's independent advisers, this would push the intersection close to capacity during evening rush-hour.

By 2021 the intersection would be struggling to accommodate any extra vehicles.

Mr Blackmore said he had not had the opportunity to discuss that issue with the board's advisers.

But he assumed they had not allowed for the expected up-take in public transport use once the flyover had freed up traffic around the Basin roundabout.

Board member David Collins said it could be argued that building the flyover may simply encourage more people to use their cars, given it will make driving easier.

He asked Mr Blackmore why he thought it would encourage more people to use public transport.

"You're claiming the bus will win out and I'm wondering what confidence you have in that?"

Mr Blackmore said improving north-south journey times around the Basin by about two minutes and making it more resilient against congestion and breakdowns would allow the regional and city councils to put an attractive public transport "spine" in place.

"The journey time and reliability improvements will shift people's habits."

The Dominion Post