Wednesday, 30th November, 2016
“NZTA should keep its East West Link promise to lodge a consent application in early December,” Auckland Chamber of Commerce CEO Michael Barnett, said today
He was responding to a late bid by Auckland Council’s planning committee to requesting NZTA to delay lodging their application to the Environment Protection Agency until 2017 so NZTA could further consider an alternative design proposal.
“The East West project has been under public engagement and consultation since mid 2014. NZTA has had plenty of opportunity to consider all manner of alternative designs.
“This latest version has been assessed to add considerable cost to the project, I am informed, and may or may not be consentable. The EPA is the best forum to make that determination,” said Mr Barnett.
Together with the City Rail Link, the East West Link has been ranked as of ‘highest priority’ by Auckland Council in 2011 but has got way behind schedule.
He pointed out that early this year the Prime Minister John Key declared the project to be of national significance, confirmed Government’s intention to fund it subject to approval and that it to go through a streamlined consenting process to enable construction to start in 2018.
The East West Link aim is to give businesses in the Onehunga-Penrose industrial area a direct access to the motorway system via a direct link between SH1 at Mt Wellington and SH20 at Onehunga.
Traffic congestion in this part of Auckland is costing freight operators many millions of dollars – the East West Link has been stalled for far too long. Meanwhile Auckland is continuing to grow at a fast pace. We need action and NZTA getting this project in front of the EPA as promised is essential,” said Mr Barnett.