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Western Ring Route Mobile Information Centre

Transit New Zealand Media Release

2 November 2006

Western Ring Route Mobile Information Centre in Mt Albert next week

Locals can visit the Mt Albert Community and Recreation Centre next week to find out more about Transit New Zealand's proposal to use tolls to speed up construction of the Western Ring Route.

A 48-km motorway between Manukau and Albany, the Western Ring Route will provide a south/north bypass of State Highway 1, the CBD and the Harbour Bridge. If Aucklanders support tolling the Western Ring Route, it could be completed and opened by 2015.

Public consultation on the toll concept started on 12 October and people have until 4 December to submit a response form.

Transit New Zealand's Auckland Regional Manager, Peter Spies, says there has already been considerable public interest in Transit's toll concept.

Transit has already received nearly 14,000 responses after an information booklet was delivered to all households and businesses in the Auckland region.

"The amount of feedback we are receiving is excellent," Mr Spies says. "It is obvious that Aucklanders are keen to have their say on what is clearly an important issue for individuals, as well as of both regional and national significance."

Mr Spies says Transit is encouraging as many people as possible to take part in the consultation process, and welcomes informed debate on the toll concept.

"What we are interested in finding out is do people support tolling as a way of opening the Western Ring Route by 2015? Do people want to spend less time stuck in traffic and more time at home, work and play?"

The Mobile Information Centre, with detailed information materials, maps and specialist consultation staff, will be open at the Mt Albert Community and Recreation Centre, 773 New North Road, Mt Albert, Tuesday 7 November – Saturday 11 November, 10 am to 4 pm. A late night session will be held on Thursday 9 November when the Centre will be open until 8pm.

One of the benefits of opening the Western Ring Route is that average speeds are estimated to increase across the wider Auckland road network by five percent because of the extra capacity added by the new route, says Mr Spies.

"Faster, more reliable travel times and reduced congestion across the city will also lead to increased business productivity, as well as having a positive social and environmental impact."

Regarding the Waterview Connection section of the route, Mr Spies says that Transit is continuing to work with the community and stakeholders on the project, and that the extent to which the project will be underground is currently under investigation.

While the final design and construction of the Waterview Connection project will have an impact on just how much money Transit would need to borrow to complete the Western Ring Route, Mr Spies says that Transit's toll concept, together with Government funding, would provide the money needed to open the WRR by 2015.

ENDS

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