Two months of hearings on Auckland's East West Link begins
Aucklanders get the chance to have their say on another major roading project tomorrow as the East West Link proposal goes to a board of inquiry.
The $1.8 billion road would be New Zealand's most expensive roading project ever, eclipsing the soon-to-be opened Waterview Connection which cost $1.4b.
The four lane link was identified as one of the Government's roads of national significance and would connect State Highway 1 at Sylvia Park to State Highway 20 at Onehunga.
NZTA said the project was designed to ease congestion and improve travel times between the Onehunga to Penrose industrial hub - an area that employs about 68,000 people and contributes $4.6b a year to Auckland's economy.
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* Submitters oppose New Zealand's most expensive roading project
The board of inquiry is set to run from June 27 to August 25 and a final decision is the expected by November 22 with construction to be completed by 2025 if the project is approved.
The hearing is taking place at the Ellerslie Events Centre.
Auckland Councillor Chris Darby is one of five committee members set to finalise Auckland Council's submission on the East West Link to a board of enquiry.
Darby said last week that delays with the opening of the Waterview Connection meant traffic data that could have been collected and used at the hearing, was now not available.
Traffic modelling for the East West Link factored in traffic modelling for the Western Ring Route, of which the Waterview Connection was a key component, Darby said.
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) released a report earlier this year showing 685 people submitted on the East West Link.
The number of submissions opposing the project in full or in part was 582, or 85 per cent.
The infrastructure upgrade has been met with opposition from the Aotea Sea Scouts. Their headquarters was constructed more than 100 years ago on Orpheus Drive in Onehunga, across the road from Gloucester Park.
The development would cut the group off from a park where scouts learn skills.
In November, Maungakiekie-Tamaki Councillor Denise Lee and Maungakiekie MP Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga both expressed concerns about the design of the project and the amount of public consultation and transparency.
The key dates for the hearing are:
- October 9 - the board will release a draft decision.
- November 8 - comments on the draft are due.
- November 22 - the board is due to sign its final decision. It will be sent to submitters and the applicant and released to the public through the EPA website.