15 May 2009

Auckland mayor backs roading plan

6:04 pm on 15 May 2009

Auckland City Mayor John Banks threw his support behind the Waterview connection proposal on Friday, dismissing the protesters as "squeaky wheels".

The 4.5km stretch of highway through Mt Albert and Waterview, which will join the southwestern and northwestern motorways, threatens 365 homes.

The Government announced on Tuesday it would not fund a $2.8 billion twin-tunnel option through Mt Albert, saying it was too expensive.

On Wednesday, the Transport Agency revealed its proposal - a mixture of deep tunnels, open motorway and cut-and-cover tunnels, which it says will cost $1.4 billion. Work could begin as early as 2011.

Speaking at a motorway extension opening in Mt Roskill on Friday, Mr Banks referred to a group of about 15 protesters objecting to the Waterview plan as squeaky wheels that will always keep squeaking.

Some residents are vowing to fight the proposal, saying it has been hurriedly put together and will be devastating to the community.

But Mr Banks he said the issue was not about protesters, but about the benefits the highway connection will have on the economy, and it was time to get to work.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce, who attended the opening, said he did not share Mr Bank's view of the protesters.