Transmission Gully

March 8th, 2011 at 10:34 am by David Farrar

Bronwyn Torrie at the Dom Post writes:

Porirua’s mayor is pleading for the Government to ring-fence cash for to prevent the money being redirected to rebuilding Christchurch.

Wellington roading projects could be in jeopardy as the Government looks to shuffle about $15 billion toward Christchurch.

The prospect has prompted Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett to plead for the “economically critical” billion-dollar motorway project to be ring-fenced.

I’ve been an advocate for Transmission Gully for 20 years or so. I was incredibly happy when Steven Joyce put an end to decades of dithering and announced funding for Transmission Gully.

However I have to disagree with Mayor Leggett. Wellingtonians, as well as Aucklanders, have to be prepared to have some of our infrastructure spending delayed. rebuilding Christchurch must be the priority.

Now this is not to say that Transmission Gully should be removed as a road of national significance – merely that if it is necessary to delay it, then so be it.

Instead, he says the “sacrificial lamb” should be the Petone-to-Granada link road, expected to cost $250 million and ease pressure on Ngauranga Gorge.

Not sure it will be a choice of one or the other. Both may need to be delayed.

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32 Responses to “Transmission Gully”

  1. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    The reference to “holiday highway” for the Northern Highway in Northland normally comes only from people who seldom use it.

    The US Federal Govt built the interstate highway network mainly to move military resources rapidly from one coast to the other.
    Numerous cost and benefit analyses were carried but none identified what proved to the be main benefit – which was the way the improved connectivity boosted economic development both in the connected centres but also on the arterial roads which were suddenly able to develop without concerns about highway congestion at the front gate.

    For example, I have lived in California and visited many times. I have never used Highways 580 and 5 to get from the Bay area to LA. But I have frequently travelled – as a tourist – up and down highways 1 and 101. In other words the interstate reduced the loading on the state highways and arterials and allowed properties on these lower ranked roads on the hierarchy to develop.

    Also 101, not Interstate 5, seeded silicon valley. (Go to google maps at San Jose and see how the two networks complement each other)

    Already in Northland, Transit NZ is blocking all manner of use and development on Highway 1 because of future congestion. So the local economy is being frozen.

    It is difficult to predict this “growth and development” effect on the de-congested highways but this effect always turns out to justify the investment.
    I am confident this will also apply to the Transmission Gully investment.

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  2. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    Doesn’t the route for Transmission Gully run along a fault line?

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  3. 2boyz (266 comments) says:

    I was a long time advocate of Transmission Gully, but due to rapidly changing global circumstances (cost of oil/production etc) I am starting to think the money could be better spent on other stuff like public transport infastructure & helping Christchurch which needs a serious tune up .

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  4. peterwn (3,314 comments) says:

    toad – yes, so I believe, and fault lines potentially affect every existing highway or potential highway route not to mention the railways. So presumably Wellington should be rebuilt in Kapiti or the Wairarapa and the Interislander ferries operate to Kapiti or Lake Ferry.

    Of course you Greenies sit back and expect ‘other people’ to use your grandiose public transport schemes.
    .

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  5. s.russell (1,646 comments) says:

    It is easy for me to say this because I do not (now) live in Wellington. But this is the right call. Transmission Gully, and the link road should be built, but Chch is the priority and delay to the Wgtn projects is reasonbable.

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  6. Pete George (23,688 comments) says:

    Both the State Highway 1 coastal route and the Transmission Gully route cross fault lines, as is the case with many roads in New Zealand.

    The Transmission Gully route offers improved security for the region’s road network over the existing coastal route even though it crosses two fault lines.

    The Transmission Gully route crosses the Ohariu Fault on an earth embankment which will be more resilient in a major earthquake and allow easier and quicker reinstatement than the previously planned viaduct.

    http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/transmission-gully/route.html

    Many NZ roads either cross or run along faultlines, it’s not possible to avoid them in many areas.

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  7. BeaB (2,150 comments) says:

    In the end, the government has to decide what we can afford. The purse is not bottomless. I know it’s hard to see cherished projects get put off yet again but that’s life. The car breaks down so you don’t do what you wanted with that money.
    Christchurch must come first. I just hope some sage heads are thinking about what kind of restoration is needed. Not a ghastly pastiche of what used to be there but somehting that suits modern needs. For instance, I was shocked by how many central city shops and offices were empty and untenanted last year before the first quake. People like suburban shopping, especially in bright, clean malls so perhaps it’s time to rethink the modern city centre.

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  8. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    peterwn,

    So right!

    Toad also fails to observe the current risk for SH1 and the railway on Centennial Highway from Pukerua Bay through to Paekakariki which will no doubt see the hillside slip down completely cutting off both (and also the Paekakariki Hill Road alternative route too..

    Which cuts off all PT too of course. And bicycles (except perhaps for the brave moutanin bikers.)

    Perhaps toad is advocating a return to horse transport (of course, carriages won’t be possible, but I can only presume he doesn’t see that as an issue.)

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  9. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    As to DPF’s post – we also must accept that some of our projects in and around Wellington might suffer due to a need to focus resources on Christchurch. I would like to see Transmission Gully proceed (and also the Kapiti link road) as soon as possible, but I accept that the “possible” will very likely be impacted as a result of the Christchurch quake.

    Perhaps an option might be to commence the projects but at a slower pace or with greater gaps between the stages within them. (Only if viable to do so and in a way that doesn’t cause total costs to blow out over time.)

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  10. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    Doesn’t the route for Transmission Gully run along a fault line?

    Toad – everything in Wellington region is on a fault line – including existing roads. Christchurch was on fault lines that no one knew existed before September last year. We cannot let that stop us.

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  11. davidp (3,588 comments) says:

    bhudson>Perhaps an option might be to commence the projects but at a slower pace or with greater gaps between the stages within them.

    Both TG and the Kapiti road are in the planning phase at the moment. No one will be moving soil for a few years yet. Hopefully by then Christchurch will be well advanced.

    One way to make some short term savings would be to contruct them as dual carriageways but with at-grade junctions. Then you could add the grade-separated junctions later. The risk is that we’ll never get around to building the junctions properly since NZ has a record of being cheap and short term, but something is better than nothing in this case.

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  12. All_on_Red (1,650 comments) says:

    “Doesn’t the route for Transmission Gully run along a fault line?”

    Indeed, add to that the volcanoes and maybe its time thousands of us started leaving for Australia, oh wait….

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  13. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    You know, the government could afford to do both if they cut back much of the Bureacracy they promised to do. They were borrowing $15B/year before the earthquake, so to rebuild Christchurch they need an extra year’s borrowing. The government has already said they can save a ton of money, so do it and redirect the savings to Christchurch.

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  14. big bruv (14,165 comments) says:

    Bugger that DPF, Transmission gully must go ahead.

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  15. mavxp (492 comments) says:

    The other issue is not merely $, but “human resources”.

    We have limited skilled people (civil and structural engineers in particular, but also civil contractors) to redevelop the new buildings and infrastructure needed in Christchurch, so instead of working on highway projects for the NI they will be working on projects in CHCH instead. Of course we could pay foreign consultants and contractors to do it for us much quicker – but costs will be higher.

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  16. Viking2 (11,579 comments) says:

    Interesting discussion as I have just come from a customer who is a civil engineer and was involved in the design etc of the new bridges at Dowse Dr. Explained to me how they were tied together with the abutments sothat they can move in unison. Now the bridge stradles the fault line and he reckons they are about the safest place to be in an earthquake in the Hutt Valley.

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  17. somewhatthoughtful (467 comments) says:

    Just can the stupid warkworth road – talk about pork. Now, if they were to can the CBD rail loop in auckland however, that would be backwards-ass retarded. chch may be fucked, but the rest of the country still needs shit to move forward. The auckland CBD rail loop is vital.

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  18. Viking2 (11,579 comments) says:

    Well all those unemplyed engineers and achitects and draughtsmen that have struggled the last 3 years can get busy. Plenty of them about.
    As for the labourers well Key can chop the minimum wage for teenagers and we can take the uneeded load of schools and polyteks and universities and put them all to work a we should do. Don’t need degrees to pour concrete and weld steel etc.

    Replace overhead with workplaces.

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  19. MT_Tinman (3,263 comments) says:

    I’m a little confused – which is probably an improvement on my normal state of total confusion but that’s not my point.

    “Wellington roading projects could be in jeopardy as the Government looks to shuffle about $15 billion toward Christchurch.”

    My understanding is that most of the earthquake reconstruction cost will be with insurance companies.

    Where does this figure of $15Billion come from.

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  20. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Transmisson gully has to be built or we risk our capital being entirely cut off in the event of a natural disaster… say an earthquake for example.

    It would make whats happening in Christchurch look like a Sunday school picnic.

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  21. nasska (11,827 comments) says:

    If a major earthquake hits Wellington the residents are cut bread (or sliced quiche for the richer commentators here). The Hutt Rd from Wellington to Petone is built on a faultline, Ngaranga Gorge will be hit by slips, ditto for the Rimutakas & the Centenial Highway near Paekakariki. The proposed Transmission Gully Highway as discussed is on a faultline, the airport is on land pushed up by a previous earthquake & the railways will fare no better than the roads. A decent sized tsunami would take out the wharves.

    Pretty much leaves choppers & horseback as the only viable alternatives. Worst of all the government bureaucracy is centred in downtown Wellington…how would the rest of the nation cope without their help & intervention?

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  22. Pete George (23,688 comments) says:

    the government bureaucracy is centred in downtown Wellington…how would the rest of the nation cope without their help & intervention??

    This isn’t a joke thread.

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  23. backster (2,185 comments) says:

    I think congestion problems around Wellington and Auckland need to be resolved in the interest of the national economy they need to proceed just as much as the largely humanitarian situation in Christchurch in tandem.

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  24. nasska (11,827 comments) says:

    backster @ 2.45pm

    Hard to disagree but finances will surely dictate & for now CHCH has to be the priority.

    Rightly or wrongly the government have been taking a hammering for their level of borrowing but I seem to remember they made a commitment to provide work for construction firms until the economy improved. Certainly you don’t have to drive far from home to find massive & expensive road projects underway. I reckon that many of these will be shelved or mothballed, where possible, & the men & equipment sent south.

    If this happens there will be neither the money or the infrastructure to tackle the wish lists.

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  25. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    I’m with backster, if the country gets bogged down with CHCH then we will all suffer in the end. It doesn’t help anyone if the cure ends up worst then the disease. Or, by limiting growth in the rest of NZ this will in the long term be of no benefit to Chch.

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  26. Manolo (14,086 comments) says:

    .. the government bureaucracy is centred in downtown Wellington…how would the rest of the nation cope without their help & intervention?

    You never know. Free from the shackles of government, NZ might even thrive. :D

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  27. KiwiGreg (3,260 comments) says:

    M T Tinman – the $15b comes from sloppy journalism. Central governments (Non-EQC) actual liabilities/loss in relation to the quake are negligible.

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  28. bruceh (102 comments) says:

    Build it.

    The economic paybacks from roading investments are rapid and diverse. The key to covering the govt’s $5B contribution to ChCh is to free up the overall economy to grow. Not to burden it further with the dead weight of govt imposts and short-sighted curtailment of sound infrastructure investment.

    Rating agencies won’t just be looking at this Budget’s earthquake forced balance sheet construction, they will be looking at the dynamic effects of govt policy across the board on our future economic prospects

    The best way, by orders of magnitude, to transport the public around is via the point-to-point brilliance of cars on roads. To say nothing of the economic opportunities that come from free-flowing interconnecting roads.

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  29. nasska (11,827 comments) says:

    KiwiGreg @ 4.10pm

    As far as buildings are concerned you are spot on….insurance & EQC should cover these AOK. Things are a bit more murky when it comes to infrastructure where Local Bodies are either not insured or underinsured. This is where the Govt will have to step up & write out the cheques & I fear they are unlikely to be small ones.

    According to first reports the city’s sewage & water pipes are “munted” & when replacing these facilities with something that has a hope of standing up to future shocks nothing comes cheap. There will be few bargains in the roading repairs either.

    The only bright spot is that the money will be spent over 5-10 years.

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  30. KiwiGreg (3,260 comments) says:

    @ nasska Oh I understand we (i.e. central government) will end up paying for a bunch of infrastructure (mainly roads and water) but its not a “liability” of central government – I understand most of these are local government assets. If I’m right then in the first instance Christchurch should be obliged to divest its assets prior to receiving such aid.

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  31. nasska (11,827 comments) says:

    KiwiGreg @ 5.01pm

    Fair comment that it’s not a “liability” of central government…it’s just that with a wrecked city full of potential voters & an election year it becomes a “political liability” which to all intents & purposes is the same thing.

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  32. Seamonkey Madness (328 comments) says:

    Bruce H “sound infrastructure investment”

    And that is just what you’re getting with a stunning BCR of 0.6.
    That’s right folks, for every million you invest, you looking at getting $600K worth of “benefits” back.

    Awesome.

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