Basin Reserve flyover bid turned down

05:05, Jul 22 2014

Controversial plans to build a flyover next to the Basin Reserve in Wellington have been killed off by a board of inquiry.

In a stunning move today, four commissioners declined resource consent for the New Zealand Transport Agency’s proposed $90 million project.

It means the agency’s plans to build a 265-metre elevated highway 20 metres north of the historic cricket ground are now all but dead in the water.

Affected parties have 20 days to comment on the board’s draft decision before it is finalised on August 30.

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After that, appeals can be made to the High Court, but only on the grounds the board did not follow the correct legal process.

The flyover would have been two lanes wide and carried westbound State Highway 1 traffic only.

It was intended to form part of Wellington’s road of national significance – a series of roading projects that will connect to form a four-lane, 110km-long expressway between Wellington Airport and Levin.

The Transmission Gully highway and Kapiti expressway are other components.

The agency will likely have go back to the drawing board in order to find a solution to the congestion that plagues the Basin Reserve roundabout during peak times.

That could potentially disrupt the Government's plans to have the road of national significance in place by 2024.

The agency had also planned to build a new 65-metre long players' pavilion at the Basin Reserve to block the flyover from view inside the venue.

The Basin Reserve Trust has previously said the new $12m pavilion and player facilities would help the ground keep its test match status.

It took the board of inquiry commissioners four months to hear all of the arguments for and against the project during a special hearing earlier this year.

Opposition group Save the Basin argued a flyover was not necessary because two other road of national significance projects – the Buckle St Underpass and second Mt Victoria Tunnel – would solve much of the congestion afflicting the Basin.

They proposed widening the Basin roundabout to three lanes and improving its intersections instead.

The Architectural Centre claimed it had designed a superior alternative to the flyover, known as Option X, but said the transport agency did not put enough effort into developing it because it was so set on having a flyover.

The transport agency said Option X did not stack up from a transport, cost or visual viewpoint. It also dismissed Save the Basin’s plans as a "patchwork repair" that would need to be revisited in a few years.


The Dominion Post