Waterview Extension Still Uncertain

The Herald reports:

As the Transport Agency prepares to open a new motorway through Mt Roskill next week, uncertainty remains over how it will eventually reach the Northwestern Motorway at Waterview.

Although a review on using tunnels or a motorway was to have been ready last month, officials are collecting new information at the request of Transport Minister Steven Joyce.

“Officials are doing some more work with it, and we’ll have more to say shortly,” a spokeswoman for the minister told the Herald yesterday.

Serious doubt over whether tunnels would be built – as favoured by the previous Labour-led Government – has engulfed the Waterview link since January, when Mr Joyce reported a cost blowout to between $2.77 billion and $3.16 billion and ordered a review.

He set officials a target of last month for completing the review.

Although they are understood to have met that deadline for preparing a report, the minister has sought more information to add confidence to a decision on the link, which is set to become an issue among candidates for the Mt Albert byelection.

It is worth repeating that the difference between the full tunnel option and the next best partly above ground option is small in the context of the size of the project – $200m.  This has to be the tunnel or nothing.

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