Submitters oppose New Zealand's most expensive roading project

A concept image of the East West Link Neilson Street Interchange.
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A concept image of the East West Link Neilson Street Interchange.

 Public submissions overwhelmingly oppose plans for New Zealand's most expensive roading project ever.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) released a report earlier this month showing 685 people submitted on the New Zealand Transport Agency's $1.85 billion East West Link.

The number of submissions opposing the project in full or in part was 582, or 85 per cent.

Artistic impression's show the proposed East West Link's roading trench and pedestrian bridge near Onehunga wharf.
SUPPLIED

Artistic impression's show the proposed East West Link's roading trench and pedestrian bridge near Onehunga wharf.

The East West Link is a central Auckland roading project that aims to address transport issues between major industrial hubs in the city.

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Part of the project includes putting a four lane road between the existing State Highway 20 Neilson St interchange in Onehunga and State Highway 1 at Mt Wellington.

Onehunga locals are concerned the current East West Link plans will severe their connection to the coast.
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Onehunga locals are concerned the current East West Link plans will severe their connection to the coast.

The Onehunga stage of the project has been marred by controversy with residents saying there has been a lack of consultation and transparency by NZTA.

In November Maungakiekie MP Sam Lotu-Iiga said he would be meeting with NZTA to express his concerns about the project.

"It is important that NZTA work with the local community to ensure that the East West Link meets both the transport needs of Auckland and improves traffic flows for Onehunga and the region.

"It also needs to be visually and environmentally appropriate so that it enhances the Onehunga foreshore," Lotu-Iiga said at the time.

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The two main issues expressed by submitters was "access concerns" and "consideration of alternatives", the EPA report said.

It said one of the main issues was the severance along the the coastal edges of the East West Link.

Another main theme was submitters believing alternative plans had not been appropriately considered.

Jim Jackson from the Onehunga Enhancement Society said he was not surprised by the high number of submissions opposing the current plans.

"There is real concern the current NZTA proposal does not propose a cost effective solution for a project that is essentially a foundation stone for the Onehunga community," Jackson said.

Jackson said there was a lack of leadership on the future of Onehunga and an urban development authority needed to be appointed.

"In addition to the East West Link, Auckland Transport is planning to develop the old Mangere Bridge and Panuku Development has earmarked Onehunga as the city's next Wynyard Quarter.

"That is a number of projects that inter-link and it needs to be considered how they will impact one another," Jackson said.

The society had created an alternative roading plan to NZTA's East West Link that was based on consultation with community members and businesses, Jackson said.

There were 94 submitters in support of the proposal in full, or in part and nine submissions that were neutral.

A total of 356 submitters, or 52 per cent, wanted to be heard at a hearing for the roading project.

A hearing would likely be held in June or July, NZTA said.

 - Stuff

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