INDEPENDENT NEWS

Tragic bypass decision is a $40 million punt

Published: Wed 22 Sep 2004 08:54 AM
Tragic bypass decision is a $40 million punt
The announcement that a contractor has been found to build the Wellington Inner City Bypass is another tragic milestone on the road to a massive waste of public money, says Wellington mayoral candidate, Timothy O’Brien.
“Nearly $40 million will be wasted on a project which few of its supporters any longer believe will contribute positively to Wellington’s roading or economy,” Tim O’Brien says.
“At a candidates meeting in the Eastern Ward last night, one bypass supporter was reduced to saying ‘there’s nothing we can do and we just have to hope it turns out to work’.
“This is an extraordinary basis on which to spend public money,” Tim says.
Mr O’Brien says it has always been clear that the bypass cannot work. It is intrinsically connected to a lane reduction ‘boulevard’ project on Jervois Quay which means the final cross-town traffic capacity will be reduced when the bypass is built.
“For this contract to be let during an election in which the project is a major issue shows a certain lack of respect for the citizens of Wellington.”
However, Mr O’Brien noted that Transit New Zealand management has been placed in an impossible position.
“When it’s remembered that Transit itself canned the Bypass earlier this year in favour of a revised street plan it’s obvious the management there doesn’t believe in it either.
“This is essentially a political decision which has been made without any concern for rational traffic planning or the many businesses and historic streetscape which will be destroyed forever during the project,” Tim O’Brien says.
Mr O’Brien says there is still time for reason to prevail and a plan which enhances, rather that destroying Te Aro, to be put in place.

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