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“One Road To Bind Them All” Ignores Known Costs

MEDIA RELEASE

“One road to bind them all” ignores known costs and problems

9 March 2006

The Western Corridor Hearing Committee ignored key costs, and undermines rail services and risks gridlock in Wellington, said transport group Option3 today.

“Far from solving Wellington’s problems, the Regional Council’s own figures show this approach comes with a massive hidden price tag, a massive traffic jam at Ngauranga and risks destroying the rail system”.

The committees recommendations look a lot like a scenario called “Advanced Roading” in earlier consultations – see Consultation Phase 2 Alternative Scenarios May 2005.

That report: Includes an extra $340m to be spent on extra lanes between Linden and Ngauranaga. This is simply the cost of getting from the end of Transmission Gully to the Ngauranga Gorge. The Hearing Committee ignores this. States that “although this would substantially reduce road congestion in the corridor, the Ngauranga Aotea Quay sections and Wellington CBD limitations means traffic would likely back up into the corridor”. States that “rail mode share for passengers and freight would reduce and highway traffic volumes would increase by up to 20%”

“More traffic jams, more heavy trucks, and the real possibility of the end of rail.” said Ms Crocker “and Wellington City is the destination for all this traffic so it faces gridlock”.

Option3 also pointed out that the same earlier report showed that spending only $400m on public transport delivered significant gains on the coastal corridor but led to far fewer problems downstream.

“The committee has been seduced by the idea that a single big road can solve congestion. This is a myth – successful cities have excellent public transport. It has been common knowledge around the world for half a century that more roads simply means more traffic and more congestion.” pointed out Ms Crocker

Option3 also observed that the committee urges a ‘strategic view’ but takes no account of either the end of cheap oil or climate change over the next 20 years. “This is a 1950s-style project that promotes urban sprawl on the Kapiti Coast and locks people into car dependence and traffic jams, right when oil prices are rising and people need more choice.”

Ms Crocker said this report was as seductive as Sauron’s ring but was equally destructive in fact. “No-one wants the coastal route but the committee has got caught in thinking the only alternative was Transmission Gully. They have ignored the real problems with that option – Option3 now offers the only workable, sustainable and affordable choice.”

ENDS


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