Basin flyover's opponents show their hand

MICHAEL FORBES
Last updated 05:00 11/03/2014
Basin flyover
BASIN DESIGNS: The Basin Reserve as it is today compared to what it would look like under the Reid alternative.

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Critics of the Basin Reserve flyover have played their trump card in the fight to stop the proposal going ahead.

The Mt Victoria Residents Association revealed details of its alternative plan, the Basin Reserve Roundabout Enhancement Option (Brreo), at the flyover board of inquiry hearing yesterday.

The plan involves widening the roundabout to a minimum of three lanes for north to south and east to west travel.

Designed by architect Richard Reid, Brreo is a more refined version of his Option RR proposal, which Wellington City Council spent $40,000 investigating last year. He claims it is a superior congestion solution to the $90 million flyover, 20 metres north of the Basin Reserve, proposed by the New Zealand Transport Agency.

However, transport experts for the agency and the council say it provides little improvement.

Reid said yesterday the agency had not been thorough in its planning. It discounted an enhancement of the roundabout early on and did not properly revisit the idea after the Government decided to convert Buckle St into a tunnel in 2012.

That decision is crucial to Save the Basin's case because it is thought the tunnel, which the flyover will connect to, will actually remove much of the congestion shortening the morning rush hour journey by six minutes. By contrast, the flyover is expected to only save motorists 90 seconds.

Most of the issues would be solved by the underpass and a second Mt Victoria Tunnel, Reid said. The Brreo plan would add about 1km of extra lane space to the state highway between Paterson St and Karo Drive, he added.

"The state highway corridor can now be accessed from every lane on the roundabout . . . traffic does not need to change lanes to access the underpass."

NZTA transportation expert David Dunlop described Brreo as a "minor patch" on the existing layout. It would save motorists even less time than the flyover, and its minor improvements for traffic and freight would come at a cost to other modes of transport, he said.

Reid said yesterday that he disagreed with some of Dunlop's traffic assessment.

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