13 May 2009

Hundreds of homes to go under new Waterview plan

7:13 pm on 13 May 2009

Hundreds of homes will be lost under a new plan for a controversial road through the Auckland suburbs of Waterview and Mt Albert to complete the western ring route.

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.

Under the plan, more than 360 homes will be demolished - 200 more than proposed in the twin-tunnel option.

Most of the newly-condemned properties are at Hendon Avenue and Great North Rd near the Phyllis Reserve.

About half of the 4.5km route will be underground, including a 1.5km tunnel under Avondale Heights.

Radio New Zealand has seen a map given to residents by the Transport Agency detailing the route.

The road will start overground at State Highway 20 at Mt Roskill, following a slightly more south-western route than the tunnel option had, before going underground at New North Rd.

The route will go through Alan Wood Reserve, then through the tunnel under Avondale Heights, emerging briefly before going under Great North Rd to the North Western Motorway on State Highway 16.

The Transport Agency says its option can be completed without borrowing funds.

Community vows to fight proposal

Avondale Community Board chairperson Duncan McDonald is vowing to fight the decision.

Mr Duncan says residents have been taken by surprise by the plan which has never been presented as an option in the past.

Mr McDonald says it looks as though it has been hurriedly put together and will be devastating to the community.

But the Transport Agency says the plan is a good compromise between covered and uncovered roads. Its board will meet in August to discuss public feedback.