Wellington Scoop

Before and after the flyover

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by Lindsay Shelton
Thanks to the retired judge who’s running the flyover board of inquiry, we can be shown the some of the environmental damage that will be caused if a 300-metre concrete bridge is built next to the Basin Reserve. Above: the familiar view looking west down Ellice Street. And, below, how the view would be cut off by the flyover and two lanes of overhead traffic.

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Not only would the flyover destroy Ellice Street’s open outlook towards the Basin and the Carillon and beyond, but also the visual simulation from the Transport Agency shows that half the houses in the street are to be demolished as well.

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This is the current view at the bottom of Paterson Street, if you’re standing with your back to St Marks School and looking north. There’s a wide open vista including St Joseph’s Church for the hundreds of school children who walk in this neighbourhood every day.

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But there’ll be no outlook if the flyover is built. The church can no longer be seen. The open vista is gone, blocked by a bank with two lanes of elevated traffic on top.

Finally, consider how the flyover will change the lives of the people who live in the Grandstand Apartments.

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Above: the current wide-open view from a third storey apartment. You can even get a glimpse of cricket on the Basin. But …

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… if the flyover is built, the apartment dwellers will look directly out on to two lanes of traffic outside their windows. The Basin vanishes behind the overhead road. (The artists have shamelessly shown the flyover as vehicle free, but the reality is that west-bound traffic will be driving across it 24 hours a day.)

The visual simulations were not offered by the Transport Agency or by the Environmental Protection Authority which is overseeing the board of inquiry. They were prepared only after a request from the board’s chairperson Retired Judge R G Whiting. In a letter to the Transport Agency on October 24, he asked for the images to be created “in order to better understand the proposal [and] the actual or potential effects on the environment…”

The results of his request (and there are even more images) were released yesterday. They’re now on view for everyone to see that the effects on the environment of Mt Victoria are just not acceptable.

Transport Blog aghast at “after” images


  1. Neil Douglas, 27. November 2013, 23:06

    I notice that the existing trees which must be 20 years old are chopped down and that the replacements are somewhat conveniently much larger in the NZTA montages.

    The replacement trees look like pohutukawa which are relatively slow growing. Unless NZTA transplants some big ones from somewhere, the views for Ellice Street residents are going to be more concrete and less greenery than the NZTA artists would make us believe.

    Also the angle of representation looks suspect in the Ellice St one as the Pohutakawa tree would be enveloping the electricity cables given the trunks’ proximity to the kerb. It is unlikely that the Electricity Supply company would tolerate massive trees being planted there.

  2. F Hendriks, 28. November 2013, 8:10

    I hope that retired judge Whiting will focus on the worst effects that would be caused by the flyover, as is shown in the images. But the comparison between picture 1 and 2 is a bit confusing. Where do all the big trees come from?

  3. JC, 28. November 2013, 12:36

    Where are the other images available at?
    [ You can find them here ]

  4. Rosamund, 28. November 2013, 13:00

    More dendronic vandalism planned for Kent and Cambridge Terrace..

    At an SPC briefing earlier this year spokespeople of the NZTA indicated that the healthy and mature trees along the berm between Kent and Cambridge Terrace will be felled to create a boulevard in the centre of the berm with new vegetation planted!!!

    Sometimes words fail.

  5. Esjay, 28. November 2013, 16:23

    I was under the impression that Pohutukawa trees were no longer favoured by the WCC especially where services such as storm water and sewage infrastructure are situated. So how long do the superimposed trees have to be in place before they’re effective in disguising the “bridge’? Then again, what species of trees could be planted with the ability to sprout overnight?

  6. JC, 28. November 2013, 17:13

    Thanks for the link to the pics. Agree it would have been good to also see pics with the trees as they would be when first planted.

    Have to disagree with the statement that “(The artists have shamelessly shown the flyover as vehicle free, but the reality is that west-bound traffic will be driving across it 24 hours a day.)” though. There are cars on the flyover.

  7. Mike Mellor, 28. November 2013, 17:38

    There are other images at the link given above that show the effects of the bridge + the building to screen the Basin (scroll to the bottom on each file).

  8. Peg, 28. November 2013, 18:35

    The images are proof that the flyover is absolutely hideous and will blight the landscape for years to come.

    The process has been flawed. After the War Memorial tunnel was approved, Option F (tunnel from Taranaki to Patterson St) should have been seriously reconsidered and recosted. Instead the NZTA stuck to their guns with Option A regardless and Wellingtonians are going to have to live with the awful result for 100 years.

    The peer review report commissioned by the EPA highlights this as a significant issue http://www.epa.govt.nz/Publications/Traffic_and_Transportation_Peer_Review_Basin_Bridge.pdf. Hopefully the EPA will rule that NZTA should reconsider the tunnel option.

    we need to spend a little more and do it properly by undergrounding SH1 from Paterson St to Taranaki. The costing range is between 100 to 220 million according to NZTA reports. That’s pretty cheap in my opinion.

  9. Phil C, 29. November 2013, 4:45

    God, they must be mad. How to wreck the centre of your city.

    Get the idiots behind this stupendously vulgar exercise to come to London, and I’ll show them the delights of smeared concrete overpasses and the cesspits and streetwalkers beneath.

    NZ’s green credentials: showing the world that failed ideas can be recycled.

  10. Te Kupu, 29. November 2013, 14:32

    The tunnelling machine currently in AKL should have been tasked post AKL with this project. Less cost re transportation and get this sorted! If you want another piece of transportation stupidity just drive through the 3-laned motorway tunnel at any hour here in Wellies! Think the same excuse was used back in the 70s – it will save money if we tunnel for 3 and not 4 lanes.

  11. JC, 29. November 2013, 15:40

    Peg and Kupu – have you thought about the gradients that would be necessary in a tunnel there? You can’t simply join up the Mt Vic tunnel and Memorial Park underpass, you would pretty much need a U-shaped tunnel to deal with the descent and ascent in the land form (its not called a ‘basin’ for nothing). Think about how the climb you already have to do at ground level to drive up to the Mt Vic tunnel entrance.

    Putting aside the engineering difficulties (and astronomical costs), I certainly wouldn’t want to drive through it. It’s about time people stopped carrying on about the tunnel option, it’s a red herring.

  12. Mike Mellor, 29. November 2013, 18:28

    JC – if you read the Peer Review of the Basin Bridge and the documents it’s reviewing, you’ll see that NZTA don’t see any of the issues that you raise with respect to Option F, an east-west tunnel Paterson St-Buckle St tunnel, as being significant enough to have ruled it out.

  13. Guy, 29. November 2013, 20:39

    Two words: Option X

  14. tim, 10. December 2013, 21:03

    More or less people don’t give a shit what option x could be.. tunnel, flying fox, bobsleigh… Anything but option “motorway through our garden.” 🙁 it’s sickening.

  15. Eric Arfur Blair, 14. December 2013, 11:46

    It’s a bridge, not a flyover – according to NZTA Orwellian newspeak. I wonder why? Bridges are lovely – think water, think countryside. Flyovers think ‘desolation row’
    By the time the blinkered people think, it’ll be in concrete.