Media release from GWRC
The draft decision declining resource consent for the construction of the Basin Bridge is a disappointing setback for the Wellington region and work now needs to begin on finding an alternative solution to keep Wellington moving, says Fran Wilde, Chair of the Regional Council and the Regional Transport Committee.
“It’s clear from a first look at the report that the Board of Inquiry recognised the substantial transport benefits from separating west-bound state highway traffic from other traffic at the Basin. However, it decided these benefits were outweighed by the effects on amenity, landscape and heritage. It’s hugely disappointing that the Board of Inquiry process couldn’t find a way to have both the badly needed transport improvements with conditions in respect of landscape, amenity and heritage.
“We’re keen to work with the NZ Transport Agency and Wellington City to explore alternative improvements to this vital part of the city and the region.
“The Basin Reserve area is a pivotal part of the local transport system – linking the CBD to the eastern and southern suburbs. But it is also a crucial link in the State Highway route to Wellington Airport and Wellington Hospital which are regional destinations. This area has been identified for years now as being in serious need of improvement. It’s a bottleneck for cars, buses, emergency vehicles and freight vehicles and the walking and cycling facilities are sub-optimal.
“Separating traffic at the Basin was an integral part of our plans for bus rapid transit through the central CBD to Newtown and further out to Kilbirnie and the eastern suburbs. Wellington needs a modern, convenient, high frequency bus system and it’s long overdue. We remain absolutely committed to bus rapid transit but we’ll now need to modify our planning for such a system.”