More on Transmission Gully

June 23rd, 2012 at 10:13 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

is go, with opponents conceding defeat in their battle against the $930 million highway.

An independent board of inquiry yesterday granted consent for the new inland highway, which will shave 10 minutes off motorists’ peak-time journeys between Kapiti and Wellington.

It means the project, first mooted almost a century ago, has no more bureaucratic hurdles to cross with opponents confirming they have no plans to lodge appeals.

Only an appeal to the High Court could stop it now, though detractors say funding may yet fall through.

The funding will only fall through if there is a change of Government.

Rational Transport Society spokesman Kent Duston would not appeal because the only avenue was arguing whether due process had been followed.

The changes to the RMA last term have been crucial in this. Previously one could spend years and years tied up in hearings and appeals.

Sediment runoff into Pauatahanui Inlet was a key concern for opponents.

But Forest & Bird North Island conservation manager Mark Bellingham said planned remedial work would actually improve the environmental status of the catchment.

Good on Forest & Bird for saying this.

Greater Wellington regional council chairwoman Fran Wilde said the decision was “great” news and would take pressure off the existing route, which carried 13,000 vehicles each day.

“The new Transmission Gully route – which has higher seismic resilience than the present route – will help to future-proof our region.

I note there is no comment from Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, as she is of course against Transmission Gully.

Wellington Civil Defence regional manager Bruce Pepperell said it would be an “escape route” in an emergency.

“It’s more than that. Anyone who lives down here understands that access is restricted at critical points. It doesn’t take a significant earthquake to do this, it just takes a simple storm and a slip to cut the area off.”

It is important strategically, not just to reduce travel times.

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33 Responses to “More on Transmission Gully”

  1. peterwn (3,309 comments) says:

    The Left is between a rock and a hard place on this. I very much doubt that Labour will adopt any firm ‘position’ on Transmission Gully in the run up to the 2014 election. All Labour can d it to try and have a bob each way on it. It is likely physical work will have started by then so it becomes a matter of whether work would be halted, then on top of that whether existing ‘frameworks’ eg designations and land acquisition would be abandoned.

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  2. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    An independent board of inquiry yesterday granted consent for the new [$930m] inland highway, which will shave 10 minutes off motorists’ peak-time journeys between Kapiti and Wellington.

    Replacing the 80km/h signs with the old 100km/h signs would ‘shave’ the time, and the budget.

    [DPF: Note as traffic moves at the pace of the slowest car, not the fastest – unless you are dual lanes each way]

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  3. Keeping Stock (10,436 comments) says:

    Just get the contract let and the first sod turned before the 2014 election, and Labour will be stuck with Transmission Gully if they fluke the election, just as National was hamstrung by Kiwirail and the decade of deficits.

    Ain’t karma a bitch?

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  4. davidp (3,588 comments) says:

    >will shave 10 minutes off motorists’ peak-time journeys

    I never understand the peak time journey saving figures that are quoted. You can easily spend double this figure queuing at the merge at Pukerua Bay. It’s often 90 minutes from Wellington to Waikanae on a Friday evening, and it is only about 50km. Add all the delays at merges, traffic lights, 50km/hr zones, and 80km/hr zones and the trip adds an hour to what should be a 30 minute drive.

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  5. Scott B (23 comments) says:

    How’s the business case looking? I haven’t looked into it recently but I have a gut feeling there are lower hanging fruit when it comes to transport.

    Whats the current benefit cost ratio (from an reputable independent source) of this road. I seem to remember a few BCR’s less than one being discussed in the past.

    If the BCR is less than one it is nuts for any government to fund it. I think the cut off should be around 2.5 to 3.

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  6. KevinH (1,236 comments) says:

    Wellington needs this, the congestion that davidp refers to has always been a handicap to Wellington’s access and development.Issues associated with the project are covered in this Stuff article:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/transmission-gully/6441982/Clock-ticking-for-Transmission-Gully-process

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  7. Peter (1,723 comments) says:

    Agreed. Get the first sod turned, sign up all the contracts with massive penalty clauses. Build in all the necessary anti-LabGreen landmines required.

    (Ford) Thunderbirds are go!

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  8. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,753 comments) says:

    The funding will only fall through if there is a change of Government.

    Only is a big word. If a Global Economic crisis was to eventuate and the government found it couldn’t borrow $250 million a week from anywhere I’d suggest this project might look a little shaky. On the other hand it is perfectly possible that the current National government could suddenly scrap WFF and stop paying public sector salaries. They would then still have the funds to pay for this infrastructure project.

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  9. Monty (980 comments) says:

    I have a friend (a bloody academic) who has voted Labour forever. I was talking to him in Marchand the polls. I mentioned to him that Shearer was Mr Invisible, Mallard was being his usual self and that as long as Labour was run my unionists and retained wankers Like Mallard in their ranks there is no hope for the Labour Party.

    I was extremely surprised when he told me he voted National in the last election. The reason transpired that he was stuck forever is traffic jams. His view was that Labour on their own might be ok. But he lives in fear of the Grfeens and how they will well and truely stuff the country. There was good reason why Clark had them as the last cab off the rank – although she would never admit it just in case. The Greens are anti any thing and evrything.

    This life long Labour voter is smart enough to know that the Greens will stop transmission gully and forever subject Wellingtonians to un-necessary delays.

    The positives of Transmission Gully will be numerous and permanent. It will be much more that quicker travel time.

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  10. Keeping Stock (10,436 comments) says:

    @ davidp – right on. I mistimed my departure from Wellington a few weeks back, and ended up stopping for dinner in Levin. It has taken us well over two hours to do a part of the trip north from Wellington that would normally taken about 70 minutes, and hunger pangs made a stop unaviodable.

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  11. Paulus (2,668 comments) says:

    Wellington needs another earthquake escape route.
    And delivery of essential recovery equipment.
    Can’t all go by sea.
    Imagine SH1 following a quake – all jammed at Plimmerton roundabout back to the city.

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  12. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    **Great** to see this get the go-ahead!
    If you want to see a place with **really good** roading, go to Hawke’s Bay. The roads between Napier and Hastings (and out to the airport) are *excellent*.

    Hopefully Transmission Gully will give Wellington a decent road for the first time in ages. The so-called “inner-city bypass” is a complete joke, with half-a-dozen traffic lights on it. They should have gone for the “put it underground” option.
    A bit more expensive up front, but a damned sight more **efficient**.

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  13. mikenmild (11,776 comments) says:

    Scott B
    You just don’t get it, do you? The BCR is obviously irrelevant, because if we went by BCRs then this project wouldn’t go ahead. It is going ahead, so the BCR can’t be an important factor. Got it? Now just shut and pay your taxes, coz we got lots more roads to build.

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  14. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    mikenmild: BCR is not the be all and end all. If it were no public transport would ever get build, and (despite all the complaining) that’s still getting built to.

    Transmission gully is very expensive. So it’s not that it doesn’t have a lot of benefits, it’s just that the terrain means it’s damn hard to build. But by that measure Wellington will never get a decent highway out of the place, and that (despite what you may think) is important.

    To put it another way, this is a vote winner. If I was National, I’d do something quite different – I’d get it all ready to go, and then hold it until after the election. I’d then say “we think this is important enough that we won’t tie the hands of the incoming govt.”

    Let’s see how many Wellington voters will vote for Labour/Green when something that actually impacts them is on the line.

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  15. mikenmild (11,776 comments) says:

    Actually PaulL, what cost-benefit analysis tell us is that alternatives to Transmission Gully provide greater benefits for lower costs. One would have thought that a government that continually says it can’t afford things would be interested in that.

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  16. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    mikenmild: no, I think the cost benefit analysis tells us that other projects have a greater ratio of benefits to costs. It doesn’t necessarily follow that those projects have higher benefits, nor that they have lower costs. But you knew that, right?

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  17. Viking2 (11,571 comments) says:

    And they don’t get rid of the issue of access.

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  18. Steve (North Shore) (4,591 comments) says:

    Greens will be desperately looking for endangered snails, skinks, insects and birds to protect.
    Also, has anyone started a ‘taniwha’ naming competition yet? I’m sure the hills and streams are full of koha hungry taniwha

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  19. mikenmild (11,776 comments) says:

    What issue of access?

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  20. swan (665 comments) says:

    “strategic” is a nice fig leaf for pork barrel politics isn’t it.

    DPF please be consistent and never pretend to be a fiscal conservative again. Thanks.

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  21. Viking2 (11,571 comments) says:

    Milkybar kid. well you think at a child like level.
    Access to the Wellington area. Well and truly signposted but I guess you don’t have your sepctacles on.

    Lord save us from dipshits. (oh that’s Henry’s line.) still a good one though.

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  22. mikenmild (11,776 comments) says:

    Sorry V2, but Wellington doesn’t have much of an access problem, at least not one we need to spend a billion dollars on.

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  23. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    mikenmild: did you read the thread at all?
    1. Wellington has a strategic access issue in an earthquake, or even in the event of a relatively minor slip. The current road is high risk, and a single point of failure. Transmission Gully gives options – it will also be earthquake prone, but the whole Wellington region is – and two earthquake prone roads are better than one.

    2. Wellington has a major traffic access issue. At peak times it is a disaster getting out on the current road. It can be upgraded gradually and partially, which costs fair bit of money and is never as good as Transmission Gully, and doesn’t fix point 1. Or we can just build a new road that doesn’t have these issues.

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  24. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Let’s see, one billion dollars plus the inevitable inflation and cost overruns for a few well paid public servants to spend a little less time in traffic.

    OK…

    How many 1:12 classes that DPF lauds at Hobson Middle School could that fund in our state schools – you know, the ones that achieve basically the same results on 60% of the funding?

    Sorry DPF, couldn’t resist that one!

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  25. MD (62 comments) says:

    Just to add some facts into the debate. Pg 78 of the final report:
    “confirmed an updated benefit cost ratio (BCR) of 0.82″ … “a BCR for a project of less than 1.0 indicates that the
    rate of return is less than 8%. In the case of TGP, Mr Copeland estimated that the rate of return could be 6 – 7%.”
    So it has a positive rate of return just not an 8% rate of return.
    When considered as part of the wider RoNS package, the BCR including agglomeration benefits was 1.2,
    So it is part of an overall project (of which it is an essential component) which has a somewhat higher BCR.
    More importantly the economic justification was the weakest area, the other aspects of the proposal were rated at the highest end of the scale. “Factors relating to the present inadequacies of the coastal route and the provision of a secure alternative route appear to us to be of substantial weight in any such consideration.” Pg79.
    The fragility of the slopes overhanging the current SH1 and main trunk rail line between Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki are a significant concen, it’s only 2003 when it was closed at Paekakariki from 3″ of rain falling in the hills behind Paekakariki. At the same time every other road access in and out of Wellington was cut. This is a major issue and in any substantial earthquake or rainstorm it is likely Wellington would be essentially cut off for 3-6 months while the roads are re-built.

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  26. Viking2 (11,571 comments) says:

    mikenmild (4,511) Says:
    June 23rd, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Sorry V2, but Wellington doesn’t have much of an access problem, at least not one we need to spend a billion dollars on.

    Really, haven’t lived there for about 38 years but do visit now and then and frankly little has changed since the day Wellington was born.
    The traffic issues that prevail today up the coast have been like that as long as I can remember and we used to travel from the Hutt to Raumati where we had a batch in the mifddle of last century.
    I spent many years going backwards and forwards over the Rimutaka’s where even a descent storm can shut the road.

    Half a decent earthquake will close Ngauranga, Ngaio, Hutt rd, Rimutaka’s and possibly Haywards and almost certainly the Akatarawa’s.
    And the Wainui Hill rd would go as well.(now if Trev was stuck over there that might not be so bad).
    Petone will sink into a mess of sand silt and liquifaction.

    Please tell us with your wisdom how else one could arrive in the capital especially as the airport would also go and the harbour would be a mess of debris.

    Access not an issue. you fantasize.

    Information for your saftey.
    Recently did a job for a design engineer who was incharge of designing the newest bridges over the Hutt rd.
    His advice was get on tem they are the safest structures around.

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  27. big bruv (14,160 comments) says:

    If the Nat’s have any brains at all they will make transmission gully the single issue that they campaign on in the Wellington area next election.

    The stinking Greens will kill this road again if they get half a chance, I hope that the Nat’s make sure the contract is let and the work has started by the time of the next election.

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  28. mikenmild (11,776 comments) says:

    It’s a gigantic waste of money. Any decent earthquake will shut that route as well. The only sensible option was to keep upgrading the current route – which will have to continue any way.

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  29. hane (69 comments) says:

    RWNJs hate socialism. Except when it comes to roads. And Numpty world cups.

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  30. big bruv (14,160 comments) says:

    mikenmild

    Do you, or have you lived in Wellington for any length of time?

    If not then can I respectfully suggest that you do not know what you are talking about.

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  31. mikenmild (11,776 comments) says:

    I have lived in Wellington all my life and can confidently state that there are many, many things here that would provide better value for a billion-dollar spend than building Transmission Gully.

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  32. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    mikenmild: I have lived in Wellington for much of my life and can confidently say that $1B on Transmission Gully is a good spend of money.

    Or perhaps what we are both expressing are opinions?

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  33. UpandComer (537 comments) says:

    Milkenmild the cost benefit on roads is practically ALWAYS much better then public type transport. Russell Norman would be more believable if he applied the same rigour of this analysis to his hippo spending on public transport. Look at how much money we have to spend on kiwrail to keep it afloat…

    I’ve lived in Wellington for a very long time, and I fricken hate the current state of affairs on the coastal road.

    You are an idiot if you think wellington would be sweet as in an earthquake under the status quo. It’s a bloody nightmare driving along the coastal route. No major roading has been built for decades. This is well over due and will almost certainly be more beneficial then any stupid light rail project or Celia Brown ‘walking trains’ – and oh yeah, everybody is still going to be using cars for the next 50 years in NZ….

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