NZTA urged to lodge East West Link consent application
1 December 2016
NZTA urged to lodge SH1-20 East West Link consent application to EPA without more delay
Congratulating the NZ Transport Agency for the extensive and considered consultation it had undertaken over the past two years with the freight sector and other community groups on the East West Link project, David Aitken, National Road Carriers chief executive, said it was critically important to freight operators that there was no further delay to the project.
He was commenting on a request by Auckland Council’s planning committee to NZTA that they delay lodging their consent application to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) until 2017 to allow further consideration of alternative design proposals.
Mr Aitken pointed out that NZTA had engaged in extensive public consultation, including with local community groups in at least four public engagement sessions (June 2014, October 2014, June 2015 and November 2016).
“It is past time that the project was moved to the next stage – an EPA consent hearing where any alternative proposals can be properly examined by experts. There is a lot at stake for the freight sector,” he said
Based on an average 10 minute delay per trip currently on local roads, congestion is costing freight operators a conservative $50 million a year. The efficiency of daily inter-provincial road freight services that originate and terminate in this area of Auckland is being compromised by the heavy congestion.”
The East West link aim is to give businesses in the Onehunga-Penrose industrial area a direct access from Southdown freight depots to the motorway system via direct link between SH1 at Mt Wellington and SH20 at Onehunga. Assuming a minimal saving of 10 minutes a trip on the new road and which should be much more, it will generate big efficiencies for businesses and benefits to productivity.
Government has declared the $1.8 billion East West Link a project of national significance and confirmed it should go through a streamlined consenting process in 2017 so construction can start as early as 2018.
National Road Carriers are keen to ensure that the East West Link outcome eliminates freight traffic conflicts with local residents. “We will be continuing to keep a close eye on the projects progress, and in particular to ensure the design of the new route was freight-friendly – safe and efficient”, concluded Mr Aitken.