Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Puhoi - Warkworth "holiday highway" gets the big tick

Puhoi - Warkworth "holiday highway" gets the big tick

By Suze Metherell

July 25 (BusinessDesk) - A board of inquiry has given the go-ahead on the $760 million Puhoi-to-Warkworth highway.

Dubbed the "holiday highway" by its political opponents, the $760 million project will extend State Highway 1 beyond the toll road between Albany and Puhoi, north of Auckland to improve traffic flows to Warkworth, the gateway to the Northland region and weekend get-away destinations for Aucklanders.

The decision is the second this week involving a major roading project. Another board of inquiry, administered by the Environmental Protection Authority and appointed by Environment Minister Amy Adams, rejected a $90 million flyover proposed as a solution to congestion around Wellington's historic cricket ground, the Basin Reserve.

In its draft decision released today, the board approved the first stage of NZTA's proposed Ara Tuhono Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance. The four-lane, 18.5 kilometre stretch of road, extending SH1 from its current end point at the Johnstone’s Hill tunnels to the Kaipara Flats Road Intersection, north of Warkworth, is estimated to cost $760 million, an NZTA spokesperson told BusinessDesk.

The proposed Puhoi-Wellsford connection was singled out as a road of national significance by the National government in 2009. The more direct route is intended to cut down travel time and boost the regional economy, not only during its estimated five-year construction for the first stage, but also from increased traffic between Northland and Auckland.

It has been opposed by both the Labour and Green parties, with both slamming the decision as a waste of money and bad for the environment.

Labour Party transport and Auckland Issues spokesman Phil Twyford said the road was "a duplicate gold-plated toll road that would only cut three minutes off the travelling time between Puhoi and Warkworth, on a road that outside of the summer holidays carries less traffic than many suburban arterials".

The 673 hectares designated for the Puhoi-Warkworth stage cuts across 46 different landowners, including 18 Crown-owned parcels.

The proposal was notified in November last year, receiving a total of 187 submissions. Of those, 62 percent supported the project either in full or in part, 25 percent opposed it in full or in part, while the remaining 13 percent were either neutral or had alternate views.

In its draft, Priestley noted the submissions received, particularly those from affected landowners and residents opposed to it, but ultimately found their concerns "largely subjective", and didn't override that "social and economic benefits undoubtedly flow from New Zealand’s roading network."

Landowners and residents were "in the board’s view, not motivated by ‘nimbyism’ but instead by an abrupt and unanticipated fracturing of hopes and dreams," Priestly said. "None of the disappointments and fractured dreams which affected land owners and residents have placed before the Board would justify it, for the reasons stated, refusing the application."

However, the board did find that, during construction of the massive earthworks and bridge piles for the project ran the risk of "adverse effects" in the Puhoi River and the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park "particularly during high rainfall events".

"The discharge of stormwater from the motorway surfaces once it is operational may also affect the marine environment."

The board imposed numerous conditions on the project, which it accepted would create "significant and irreversible changes to the environment", which would soften with time as "mitigation planting becomes established and views are screened".

The board's final decision is due with the EPA by Sept. 4. The NZTA said construction is anticipated to start between 2015 and 2019 and be completed between 2020 and 2025.

The board of inquiry comprised retired High Court Judge John Priestley chairing, with Michael Parsonson, Alan Withy, Bronwyn Hunt and David Chandler.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Taxing Multinationals: EU Ruling Sours Apple

Shares of Apple slid, down 0.9 percent as of 3.08pm in New York, after the European Commission ruled that Ireland granted the company undue tax benefits of up to 13 billion euros (US$14.5 billion)—"illegal aid” under EU rules that the commission says Ireland now must recover from Apple. More>>

ALSO:

NZX Review: Best Practice Code Recommends Code Of Ethics

NZX, the sharemarket operator, is seeking feedback on proposed changes to its corporate governance best practice code including a published code of ethics, rules about share trading and continuous disclosure, and more transparency over board appointments and chief executive pay. More>>

ALSO:

Auditors:

Signs Of Life? SETI On Russian Space(?) Signal

A star system 94 light-years away is in the spotlight as a possible candidate for intelligent inhabitants, thanks to the discovery of a radio signal by a group of Russian astronomers... Could it be a transmission from a technically proficient society? At this point, we can only consider what is known so far. More>>

Post-Post: Brian Roche To Step Down As NZ Post CEO

Brian Roche will step down as chief executive of New Zealand Post in April 2017, having led the state-owned postal service's drive to adjust to shrinking mail volumes with a combination of cost cuts, asset sales, modernisation and expansion of new businesses. More>>

ALSO:

Company Results: Air NZ Rides The Tourism Boom With Record Full-Year Earnings

Air New Zealand has ridden the tourism boom and staved off increased competition to deliver the best full-year earnings in its 76-year history. More>>

ALSO:

New PGP: Sheep Milk Industry Gets $12.6M Crown Funding

The Sheep - Horizon Three programme aims to develop "a market driven, end-to-end value chain generating annual revenues of between $200 million and $700 million by 2030," according to a joint statement. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news