The Board of Inquiry into Transmission Gully has given the project draft approval, which is great news and a big step forward for the project.
Construction could potentially start in 2015 and be finished by 2021, nearly a century after it was first proposed.
Ever since becoming an MP in 2005 I’ve pushed hard for this project and I’m thrilled it is a step closer to reality.
The New Zealand Transport Agency estimates it will save around 10 minutes off a trip to or from Wellington for Kapiti peak hour commuters, but the wider benefits are much greater than that.
The Board agreed that a new four-lane highway will tackle congestion, reduce travel times and provide a much safer route.
It provides an alternative route in and out of Wellington in event of emergency, and will be a real boost to the regional economy.
This will be one of the biggest roading construction projects in Wellington for decades, and is a key part of the Wellington Airport to Levin Road of National Significance.
I’m proud to be part of a Government which has finally fronted up, not just with the funding but with reforms to the Resource Management to stop these kind of projects becoming bogged down in red tape.
The creation of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has allowed big projects like this and Auckland’s Waterview to be heard in just nine months, rather than years of battle in the Environment Court as used to happen. At the same time, it has allowed people to have their say and for all the evidence to be carefully considered.
It augurs well for the Kapiti Expressway which I’m hoping will go through the same Board of Inquiry process shortly.
The EPA will publish the panel's final decision on Transmission Gully in mid-June, after considering feedback.
More information, including the Board of Inquiry’s full report is available at http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/transmission-gully