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Council rejects Transit ‘No Tunnel’ decision

Council rejects Transit ‘No Tunnel’ decision

Auckland City has thrown down the gauntlet to Transit New Zealand to reconsider its decision to widen the Victoria Park flyover section, instead of tunnelling.

The council’s Transport Committee today (Wednesday, 4 December) decided to tell Transit that its decision to widen the current road and viaduct is “unacceptable”.

The committee told Transit that Auckland City expects improvements to be designed to fully mitigate the impact of the corridor on the council’s communities “through a mixture of trenching and tunnelling.”

On the question of cost, the committee said Transit should investigate tolls or debt funding for the project.

Transit says it can not afford a tunnel option in its State Highway 1 Harbour Bridge to City project.

Widening the western side of the viaduct will cost an estimated $105 million. A full tunnel would cost $280 million and a north-bound only tunnel $200 million.

Councillor Greg McKeown, chairperson of the council’s Transport Committee, says Transit needs to know there is political as well as community opposition against widening the viaduct as opposed to the strong preference for partial trenching or a tunnel.

“Victoria Park is an irreplaceable and valued community asset and should not be further compromised,” says Councillor McKeown.

Auckland City has support from the Auckland Regional Council which has asked Transit to delay finalising its decision on the preferred option.

The ARC wants to convene a workshop with Transit, Auckland and North Shore City councils which will achieve “widespread community support from interested parties”.

Councillor McKeown says the committee’s decision is a “stake in the ground” not only for the Harbour Bridge to City project, but for other major roading projects on the horizon.

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