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Ngauranga Gorge Requires a Bold Alternative - Dunne

20 July 2017

Ngauranga Gorge Requires a Bold Alternative - Dunne

A new road tunnel from Ngauranga to Glenside to link up with Transmission Gully is being proposed by Ohariu MP, Hon Peter Dunne.

The closure of State Highway One through Ngauranga Gorge twice in the last week has highlighted the need for bold thinking and solutions about Wellington’s northern approaches, says Ohariu MP and UnitedFuture leader, Hon Peter Dunne.

Mr Dunne has a proven record of success ranging on northern suburbs transport issues, from saving of the Johnsonville Rail Line to successfully progressing the Transmission Gully road link that that will be opened in 2020.

“I fought an almost single-handed, often ridiculed, campaign for years to keep the Johnsonville rail line open, which culminated in 2012 with new trains for the line, guaranteeing continued commuter rail services for Ohariu for the next 30-40 years, at least,” he says.

Now, he is turning his attention to Ngauranga Gorge.

“The recent weather events show how easily Ohariu residents could be isolated if the Ngauranga Gorge was closed for a prolonged period of time.

“Much of the focus in recent years about traffic in Wellington has focused on improving the flow of traffic through Wellington, from Ngauranga to the Airport, and the bottleneck around the Basin Reserve.

“How traffic gets into and out of Wellington has been largely ignored.

“At present, there are two alternatives - Ngauranga Gorge or State Highway 58 over Haywards.

“The completion of Transmission Gully and the Petone to Grenada link road in the next few years will help, particularly with regard to traffic through the Hutt Valley through State Highway 58, but the problem of reliance on Ngauranga Gorge will still remain,” Mr Dunne says.

He says that the Ngaio Gorge, and the road through Khandallah to Johnsonville, and then on to Middleton Road to Tawa is the de-facto back-up at present, but that is inadequate, because the road to Johnsonville was never designed to be a main arterial road.

Mr Dunne is therefore floating the idea of a road tunnel to complement Ngauranga Gorge.

“Why not a road tunnel from Ngauranga to Glenside, to link up with Transmission Gully?

“Such a tunnel would be approximately 4 kilometres long, and could run parallel to the existing No 2 Rail tunnel on the main trunk line,” he says.

Mr Dunne says the recently opened Waterview tunnel in Auckland is approximately 2.4 kilometres long, and took around eighteen months to tunnel, and three years altogether to build.

“A similar tunnel at Ngauranga could be built in about 4-5 years and would dramatically improve the flow of traffic currently using State Highway One through Ngauranga, as well as giving Wellington an alternative access and egress.

“It would also be immune to the effects of extreme weather events that closed the Ngauranga Gorge last week.

“I am calling for region wide discussion on the idea and a feasibility study to consider all aspects of the issue, including engineering, and seismic factors, leading to the development of an indicative proposal for public consultation,” he says.

Ends


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