Dom Post on Transmission Gully

November 23rd, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

Ninety-three years after the idea of constructing an alternative route out of the capital was first mooted in the Evening Post, is within touching distance.

The Cabinet has given the NZ Transport Agency permission to borrow the funds needed to build and operate the highway using a public-private partnership. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2014 and to finish in 2020.

Once the road is built, freight and people will move in and out of the capital more smoothly, motorists will no longer be subject to long delays or be brought to a complete halt by a single accident blocking the existing coastal highway. Most importantly, the prospect of Wellington being cut off from the rest of the North Island by a major natural disaster will be reduced.

The delays when there is an accident are just insane – a key weakness of having just one route north.

Even without crashes, Transmission Gully should see commute times reduce by 20 minutes a day for the average motorist.

If you don’t do Transmission Gully you would need to make major changes to the existing SH1, but that process is widely thought to be impossible to get consent approval for, as it would affect so many people.

 

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12 Responses to “Dom Post on Transmission Gully”

  1. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    For completeness… there are already two routes north out of Wellington, not one ;-)

    When I bought my 1971 Triumph, the first owner told me all about how he and his then young wife used to regularly drive it at 100MPH+ when heading down SH2 to Wellington for a weekend’s shopping.

    (But I can appreciate that today, the Rimutaka hill might seem scary to those who are accustomed to setting the autopilot on 98km/h and just humming along without giving a second thought to changing gears, fading the brakes, etc…)

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  2. David Farrar (1,889 comments) says:

    Wairarapa is more to the east!

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  3. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    Well, interesting endorsement from the Dom but Truckers have already said they’ll ignore the gully. Spose it will thin out peak trafic with many vehicles choosing the old route. Why it hasn’t been done decades before when the economy was so much better is the real q. The visionless govts of the past, including the National govt that turned down a free highway between Akld and Wellington offered by the Americans after the war are pathetic, and now another bottomless pit of roading is going ahead.

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  4. campit (467 comments) says:

    Transmission Gully should see commute times reduce by 20 minutes a day for the average motorist

    C’mon DPF, you clearly didn’t get that figure from the official NZTA site..

    Peak period travel time savings estimated at around 10 minutes per vehicle for Kapiti to/from Wellington, 15 minutes Kapiti to/from Hutt, five to seven minutes Porirua to/from Hutt Valley.

    And that is just at peak. At off peak travel time savings will be considerably less.

    The rest of the editorial which you haven’t quoted issues a warning about PPPs:

    Somewhere north of Wellington in the not-too-distant future, public servants will come face to face with bankers wearing Armani suits and polished leather shoes… However, there have also been many instances of these partnerships going bust and leaving tax and ratepayers to pick up the pieces as well as instances of governments and councils locking themselves into long-term contracts for services they no longer require… The lesson is that every twist and turn in the road must be nailed down and all eventualities anticipated. Hopefully, the Transport Agency and the Treasury have learned it. Otherwise taxpayers will take a bath.

    NZTA claim that PPPs drive better value for money. NZTA are effectively saying that the current tendering processes so inefficient that even allowing for the profit required of a private operator, that value for money will still be attained. If there is that much inefficiency in the current process, that should be rectified immediately.

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  5. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    Hinamanu:
    Why it hasn’t been done decades before when the economy was so much better is the real q.

    The government ought to be able to get it for a much better price during a time of uncertainty, when there’s not much work around, and therefore plenty of big contractors are desperate to win more or less anything that’s going…

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  6. B A W (99 comments) says:

    Construction starting in 2014 – means that the next govt will not be able to cancel it. – yay!.

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  7. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    To the doubters (like campit and hinamanu):
    There are currently five or six sets of lights between Paekakariki and the start of the motorway proper at Porirua. Allowing for an average one minute stop at each set, there’s six minutes saved already.
    Then add in the fact that there’s a 10+ km coastal road where you have to travel at 80 (and in reality the traffic is slower), and two zones of about 5 km each where you have to travel at 50 because it’s an urban area. Plus the existing route isn’t as direct.
    All of a sudden you’ve got your 10-15 minutes before you put traffic on the roads.
    Now add the peak hour merging and you’ll save 20-30 minutes easy.

    Now, if you’re being paid to be in a vehicle, your employer will gladly pay $2-5 to get you there much faster. If you’re not being paid then that’s up to you, but I’d suggest you’d save that amount in petrol alone, even before you account for the time saved.

    hinemanu says that truckers won’t use it. I’d like to see where he’s got that data from, since my experience with toll roads in Australia is that truckers love them, since they get to their destination quicker (using less fuel and giving more time to either be at home or doing other jobs) and they also don’t have to slow down and stop as much. Driving on a motorway is also far safer for a truckie than driving through towns. A truck driver is always going to choose a motorway over suburban streets.

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  8. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    Gazza – and you haven’t even mentioned the bit where the McKay’s crossing dual lane section merges down to one lane just north of Paekak (right in front of the mouth of transmission Gully…) causing a peak-time bottleneck or “tail-back” that can see you sitting stationary for ten minutes quite easily…

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  9. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    RRM – exactly.
    You can prove it in major Australian cities by driving through the cities (“old” highways) and driving through the tolled roads (the new highways). Classic example is in Brisbane.
    You can either take the free road from the Gold Coast to the Airport (Pacific Mwy (M3) – ICB or Fortitude Valley – Kingsford Smith Dr) and it takes about 1.5 hours off peak, or more in the daytime. Or you can take the Gateway Bridge (M1) or the new tunnels (M7), pay ~$5 in tolls, and get there in under an hour even in peak hour. All routes are a similar distance, the difference is that one is a motorway and toll bridge and the other is through the streets (and about 5-10 sets of lights depending on which way you go).

    There is also the “build it and they will come” approach – people will reject toll roads and will boycott them, until they try them. People pretty quickly change their tune.

    I’m not getting into the merits of the PPP structure except to say that I personally wouldn’t invest in one.

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  10. bhudson (4,738 comments) says:

    gazzmaniac,

    The truckies have said for many years that they won’t use it (heading South) because the gradient climbing out of McKays is goin to be steeper than the Ngauranga Gorge. (They were really lobbying for a tunnel I think.)

    The slow down on Centennial Highway and the traffic lights around Plimmerton/Mana might well change that position slightly.

    The climb out of Paekak is a problem, but I think the truckies will change their minds quickly as the old highway becomes a secondary road (and is maintained as such.)

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  11. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    The gradient on the Princes Highway driving east from Adelaide is just as steep, and the climb is to an altitude of about 700 m. Trucks still use it since it’s the best route.

    Trucks are also a lot more powerful than they once were.

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  12. Joseph Carpenter (214 comments) says:

    Gazzmaniac is correct and Hinamau and bhudson are wrong, trucks are way powerful (100%+) and more fuel efficient (40%+) than even 20 years, the gradient is not the concern, time is. Just ask a trucker how they feel and how much it cost when they miss an unload or delivery, they miss the ferry sailing, they hit their hours and must pull over or unscheduled driver change. SH1 into Wellington is an absolute disgrace and lets not forget the average 3 days a year it’s closed down (and no SH2 is not an alternative especially since SH3 Manawatu Gorge is also fucked).

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