Serious questions about the benefits of the proposed Basin Reserve flyover have been raised by peer reviewers and must be looked at closely at the Board of Inquiry hearings beginning tomorrow, Labour Wellington MPs Grant Robertson and Annette King said.
“The Board of Inquiry has a big job ahead of it. Given the evidence presented to the Board this cannot be a rubber stamping exercise. Both submitters and peer reviewers have raised serious questions about the modelling behind the project and whether the claimed benefits will occur,” Grant Robertson, MP for Wellington Central, said.
“It is unusual to see a peer review report with so many comments that question the proposal by NZTA. We have said all along that this project is flawed and that other options for improving traffic flow have not been given a fair hearing,” Rongotai MP Annette King said.
“The peer reviewers, Abley Consultants, brought in by NZTA, have agreed with a number of concerns raised by submitters. For example they say there are ‘doubts over the modelling’ that mean the perceived benefits might not occur. This includes NZTA incorrectly attributing five minutes of savings of travelling time to the flyover. They also question whether the Basin Reserve is the major cause of bottlenecks or whether they are in fact caused by the Mt Victoria tunnel,” Grant Robertson said.
“The Board of Inquiry will be well aware of the strong opposition to the flyover by many in the Wellington community. They now also have concerns from other experts that cast doubt on NZTA’s claims. The flyover is by no means a fait accompli. If the benefits do not stack up then the project should not go ahead.
“I believe there is a case for a second tunnel, and other improvements should be considered. Wellingtonians deserve the best long term solution, not flawed short-term thinking,” Annette King said.
The Board of Inquiry hearings commence tomorrow (February 3rd) and a decision is expected in early April.