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The East West Link – Govt Looks For A Cheaper Solution

21 November, 2017

The East West Link – Govt Looks For A Cheaper Solution

INSIGHTS ABOUT THE NEWS - A green light from the Board of Inquiry appointed to consider the $1.8bn East West Link in Auckland has not deterred the Govt from its death sentence for the project in its current form.

As reported in the Trans Tasman Political Alert and its sister publication, the NZ Transport Intelligence Business Alert, Transport Minister Phil Twyford is seeking advice and he will be hoping officials and the sector can come up with some clever and cheaper alternatives.

The draft consent gave the legal approval, in principle, for the construction of a new, four-lane arterial road connecting SH20 at the Neilson Street Interchange in Onehunga with SH1 in Mt Wellington. In addition, the proposal included new local road connections with upgraded, cycle and pedestrian facilities.

The transport sector and National MPs says the approval shows the need for a rethink from new Ministers. Under Labour’s confidence and supply agreement with the Green Party, the East West Link will not proceed “as currently proposed.”

Twyford said in Parliament the legal consent was a not an economic analysis. “We just don't believe that a gold-plated option that would have been the most expensive road project in human history would have been a good use of taxpayer funds.”

Twyford says he will come up with something, “we're going to invest urgently in a higher-value, lower-cost option.”

National Road Carriers CEO David Aitken says he is keen to see alternatives as soon as possible as the problem is only getting worse.

The large commercial and industrial area is home to some of NZ’s largest companies and freight operations, attracted to the area over the last 50 years with the promise of transport links to the north and south which have yet to be achieved.

Metroport alone is handling over 500,000 containers annually and the Pikes Point recycling depot has 20,000 heavy commercial vehicle trips and many more by light vehicles and private motorists annually. With Auckland’s predicted population growth, traffic volumes are expected to double in the area by 2035.

“We understand the Govt is going to encourage more rail freight by installing another rail line as far as the Southdown/ Te Papapa inland Metroport,” Aitken says. “We back that.”

But then the incoming freight has to be distributed from Metroport, which will require even more than the 6000 daily truck movements now passing through the area.

Trans Tasman’s sister publication, The New Zealand Transport Intelligence Business Alert, is a weekly source providing you with in-depth news, analysis and opinion on NZ’s transport and logistics sectors.


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