Transmission Gully gets draft approval
Wellington's Transmission Gully has been given draft approval, almost a century after it was first mooted.
In a draft decision released today an independent board of inquiry, administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, said it would approve resource consent for the $1 billion, 27km inland highway from Linden to north of Paekakariki.
It will release its final decision in mid-June after feedback. That decision is binding and can be appealed against only on a point of law.
Today's draft decision marks the latest hurdle in a project which - if and when completed - will be over a century from inception to realisation.
An inland alternative route out of Wellington was first mooted in 1919 and has been under serious investigation since the 1980s.
But the project got a big boost in 2010 when the Government deemed it a road of national significance, meaning the consent process was fast-tracked and scope for opposition narrowed.
Earlier this year an independent board of enquiry sat to hear arguments for and against the proposed 27-kilometre highway.
Seventy submissions were received and nearly 100 people spoke, including lawyers, experts and homeowners.
Thousands of pages of evidence were submitted to the board, which went on numerous site visits in addition to assessing 5000 pages of resource consents and notices of requirement from the New Zealand Transport Agency, Porirua City Council and Transpower.
Parties in support of the proposal included Kapiti Coast District Council, Greater Wellington regional council and the Historic Places Trust.
The Conservation Department and numerous affected home owners opposed the highway.
Under new national consenting processes, the Environmental Protection Authority can recommend a board of inquiry assess applications, hear submitters and make a decision on whether projects should go ahead.
Construction of the road could start in 2015 and be completed by 2021.
The Dominion Post