Friday 16th September 2011 1 Comment
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The endlessly controversial Transmission Gully highway project has been placed on a fast-track resource consent process that should see applications decided within nine months.
Environment Minister Nick Smith announced this morning that the proposal, which will create an inland western arterial route for Wellington to complement the current coastal route, is to be referred to a board of inquiry chaired by Environment Court judge Brian Dwyer.
The challengingly steep and geologically complex route uses a road corridor first identified during the Second World War, comes with a $1 billion price tag, and has been the subject of local and central government to-ing and fro-ing for decades.
“Transmission Gully is a nationally significant roading project that impacts the greater Wellington region, as well as wider New Zealand,” said Smith after receiving a recommendation from the Environmental Protection Authority to fast-track applications for the 27-kilometre development, which will connect with a proposed new expressway through the Kapiti Coast.
Consents are being sought from the New Zealand Transport Agency, Porirua City Council and the national grid operator, Transpower. The project consists of four components: the main alignment from Linden to MacKays Crossing, the Kenepuru link road; the Porirua link roads and the relocation of existing transmission lines and towers along the route.
Other board of inquiry members are Environment Commissioner Russell Howie, resource management consultant David McMahon, traffic engineering consultant David Mitchell and Resource Management Act and tikanga Maori expert Glenice Paine.
“Wellington has previously experienced long delays in decisions over transport infrastructure with the Inner City Bypass taking 17 years to consent,” said Smith. “This process will enable affected people to have their say but will deliver a decision within nine months.”
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