Changes to the Basin Reserve have been moved to near the top of the region's transport wish-list in a bid to gain government funding.
Opponents of the plan which could result in a $33 million flyover near the northern end of the Basin say Greater Wellington regional council is acting too hastily without fully considering the impacts on the cricket ground.
The multimillion-dollar project is second on the council's new transport priority list, pipped only by the first stage of the Western Link Road between Waikanae and Paraparaumu. If the programme is approved and funded by the Government work could begin within three years.
The list also gives high priority to improvements to the region's rail network including the purchase of seven electric trains over and above the 48 on order median barriers between McKays Crossing and Paekakariki, and Moonshine Rd and Silverstream, and fire safety improvements inside The Terrace and Mt Victoria tunnels.
The entire wish-list would require more than $1 billion over three years.
However, council chairwoman Fran Wilde admitted that not all of the projects would win Government approval.
"We figure we can do at least all of the high-priority stuff and some of the medium-priority stuff too," she said. "There won't be the money to do everything."
Missing from the list is Transmission Gully, which remains one of the regional council's top priorities but is already funded for the next three years.
The Government has committed $80 million for investigation and preliminary design work on the $1.025 billion project, as well as $405 million for construction.
A funding gap of more than $600 million remains, and the council continues to negotiate for more.
The Basin Reserve project has angered some ratepayers concerned about the impact it will have on the historic cricket-ground.
Kent Duston, of the Save the Basin Reserve Campaign, said he was astounded to see it listed at No 2. "It's very concerning that they are still trying to railroad this thing through. This looks like a way of trying to get this thing happening without the necessary public debate."
Mr Duston said the impact on the Basin had not been fully assessed.
The public would be consulted on options and designs later this year.
"The impact is going to be negative," he said.But Ms Wilde said no firm decisions had been made and that a flyover was not a fait accompli.
"The Basin is iconic we are not going to ruin the Basin."
Kapiti Deputy Mayor Ann Chapman welcomed the news that the Western Link Road, aimed at linking communities from Raumati to north of Waikanae, was top of the agenda.
TOP TRANSPORT PRIORITIES:
Western Link Road stage 1 (Waikanae to Paraparaumu), $82 million.
State Highway 1 Basin Reserve upgrade and bus lanes improvement, $37 million.
Rail network improvements (including seven more trains, double-tracking, signalling and track upgrades), $177 million.
Western Link Road stage 3 (Paraparaumu to Raumati), $41 million.
SH2 Melling Interchange and Melling Bridge, $51 million.
Paraparaumu and Waikanae station upgrades, $15 million.
McKays Crossing to Paekakariki median barrier, $5 million.
SH2 Moonshine to Silverstream median barrier, $6 million
- The Dominion Post