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NZTA welcomes referral of Transmission Gully applications to Board of Inquiry

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The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has welcomed a Ministerial direction to refer its Notices of Requirement and resource consent applications for the Transmission Gully project to a Board of Inquiry.

NZTA Wellington State Highways Manager Rod James said the decision by the Minister for the Environment to refer the applications to a Board of Inquiry was an exciting and important milestone for the Wellington region as the Transmission Gully project has been talked about for decades.

“The NZTA has completed a significant amount of detailed investigations to ensure a thorough understanding of the effects, impacts and opportunities the project will have and this is reflected in the large volume of information provided with the applications.

“We will continue to work closely with the community, local authorities and other stakeholders to ensure they are fully informed about the applications. All the information included in the applications is available on our website and through that of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA),” he said.

The NZTA’s applications were lodged at the same time as other regulatory applications from the Porirua City Council and Transpower for the project.  The NZTA’s applications are for the main Transmission Gully route and the Kenepuru link road while the Porirua City Council’s applications pertain to the planned link roads from the Transmission Gully route into Whitby and Waitangirua.  Transpower’s applications relate to transmission tower relocation and strengthening along the route.

Mr James said the Board of Inquiry process provided an excellent opportunity for submitters supporting or opposing applications, such as those for the Transmission Gully project, to have their submissions heard and considered by the Board.

“The NZTA is pleased that the evidence it will be providing with respect to its applications for the Transmission Gully project will be thoroughly tested.  The EPA and Board of Inquiry process will ensure that the NZTA constructs projects that will best benefit New Zealand,” he said.

Mr James said the lodging of the regulatory consent applications was the second step in a two-step consenting process for the Transmission Gully project.

The first step saw a request in September 2010 to the EPA for a change to the Wellington Regional Freshwater Plan to provide a clearer policy framework within which decisions can be made on regulatory consent applications for works and discharges to waterways.

A Board of Inquiry hearing on the plan change request was held in July 2011 and the Board’s draft decision released on 26 August was an important step in achieving clarity with respect to that planning policy framework.  The NZTA is now reviewing the draft decision and will provide feedback to the Board of Inquiry before the Board releases its final decision in October 2011.

The Transmission Gully project forms the MacKays to Linden segment of the Wellington Northern Corridor which runs from Levin to Wellington Airport.  The Wellington Northern Corridor is one of seven ‘roads of national significance’ that the Government has identified as essential state highways which require upgrading to reduce congestion, improve safety and support economic growth in New Zealand.

An interchange will connect the Transmission Gully route to State Highway 58, with another interchange connecting to Porirua City Centre and Linden via the Kenepuru link road.  In addition, two link roads will connect the eastern Porirua suburbs of Whitby and Waitangirua to the route via the planned James Cook interchange.

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