The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) welcomes a Ministerial recommendation to refer its Waterview Connection application for designation and resource consents to a Board of Inquiry - the first ever roading project to use the new national consenting process.
NZTA chief executive Geoff Dangerfield said the Ministerial decision marked a major milestone for New Zealand’s biggest and most complex roading project to date.
“The NZTA is delighted that the Minister for the Environment and the Minister of Conservation have recommended our application proceed to a Board of Inquiry.
“This is a significant achievement for an important project that will deliver significant benefits to our state highway network and help boost our national economy. This is great news for Auckland and New Zealand.”
In early July the NZTA began calling for tenders to construct the SH20 section of the Waterview Connection. This followed a decision by the NZTA’s Board to approve funding to complete the Western Ring Route road of national significance project. Completing the route includes constructing the Waterview Connection, widening and raising the SH16 causeway and other capacity improvement works from St Lukes to Westgate.
“We’re committed to delivering this project as quickly as possible and with the best value for money,” Mr Dangerfield said.
The Transport Agency lodged its application with the Environmental Protection Authority in August using the new one-step consenting process for projects of national significance. It was reviewed by the EPA to determine and recommend whether it should be referred to a Board of Inquiry, the Environment Court, or to the local authorities for a hearing.
Mr Dangerfield said the application was the largest the NZTA has ever completed.
“This is a complex project, the first of its kind for New Zealand and the NZTA. We completed a significant amount of detailed investigation to ensure a thorough understanding of the effects, impacts and opportunities the project will have regionally and nationally. This is reflected in the large of volume of information presented in the application.”
Mr Dangerfield said the NZTA would be holding information evenings throughout the project area to update the public on the project.
“We want to continue to work closely with the community, local authorities and other stakeholders to ensure they are fully informed about the project as it is described in the application. All of our application information will be made available on our website early next week for anyone who wants to learn more about our designation and resource consent requirements.”
A copy of the applications and accompanying information will be also be available on the EPA’s website once it is publicly notified. Paper copies will also be made available in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. A full list of these locations will be included in the public notification, on the EPA website and on the NZTA’s website.
The Waterview Connection project is a crucial component of completing the Western Ring Route. It is one of seven ‘roads of national significance’ projects identified by Government as key to unlocking New Zealand’s potential for economic growth. It includes a new 4.5km long motorway link the Southwestern motorway (SH20) with the Northwestern motorway (SH16) and is comprised of two three-lane tunnels for 2.5kms of the route.
Once completed the Western Ring Route will provide a 48km alternative to SH1 and will help significantly easy congestion and travel times for both freight and people.
For more information about the Waterview Connection project and its application for designation and resource consents, visit www.waterviewconnection.co.nz(external link).