Run road through Basin: 'lay-experts'

Last updated 11:52 13/03/2014

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Basin Reserve Inquiry

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Bowling the Basin Reserve's Museum Stand and plonking a road right through the middle of the cricket ground has been suggested as an alternative to a flyover.

The idea was floated by so-called "lay-experts" at the Basin Reserve flyover's board of inquiry hearing this morning.

The four-member board took a break from listening to technical experts so it could hear from people who live near the Basin or have passionate views on the proposal to build a two-lane highway flyover, 20 metres north of the ground.

First up was Oriental Bay resident Mark Wilson, who suggested converting Sussex St, to the west of the ground, into a cut-and-cover tunnel for local traffic so State Highway 1 could run overhead.

Creating enough room for a four-lane tunnel would mean demolishing the Basin's earthquake-prone Museum Stand and shifting a shed and the cricket nets at the south-west corner of the ground, he said.

The other problem would be the disruption to local traffic during construction.

Mr Wilson's solution to that was to build a temporary road right across the Basin Reserve playing surface, connecting Adelaide Rd to Kent and Cambridge Tce directly.

If timed right, the Basin should only be out of commission for one cricket season, during which games could be played at Westpac Stadium.

"Many would feel that the temporary road would be an acceptable inconvenience in comparison to having a flyover blight the ground for decades to come," he said.

"The main problem of course would be cost, and it's pretty much impossible for me, as a lay person, to calculate that."

Dave Shea, who lives a few hundred metres south of the Basin, pleaded with the board not to destroy the "Sunday afternoon atmosphere" of the Basin by allowing the flyover to to be built.

He did not think the players' pavillion that will be built to block the flyover from view inside the ground was an adequate solution.

"I don't think the people [of Wellington] can be bought off by some cheap, exclusive-use building ... it's lipstick on a pig."

He also doubted whether the flyover would solve the Basin roundabout's congestion woes, given motorists would still have to deal with pinch points along the Inner City Bypass.

"This flyover is going to shift the traffic jam a few hundred metres, and that's all."

Mount Victoria resident Margaret Peebles said the flyover would make congestion worse by encouraging more people to drive through the Mt Victoria Tunnel.

Wellington's CBD was not capable of handling more roading, she said. "We can't keep adding motorway after motorway like Auckland does."

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- The Dominion Post

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