3 Feb 2014

Panel mulls controversial flyover

5:55 pm on 3 February 2014

An expert panel has been told a bridge is the best way to solve Wellington's congestion problems at the Basin Reserve sports ground.

The New Zealand Transport Agency is outlining its case for a controversial $90 million flyover to a panel charged with deciding whether to grant the project resouce consent.

The two-lane, one-way flyover, which will be 260 metres long, will run between Buckle Street and the Mount Victoria tunnel, skirting the northern side of the popular sports ground.

It will involve two new buildings, one on the Basin Reserve itself.

Retired judge Gordon Whiting is leading the panel.

Retired judge Gordon Whiting is leading the panel. Photo: RNZ

A four-person panel began hearings on Monday that are expected to last for eight weeks. It will consider evidence from more than 60 submissions, then adjudicate on the proposal.

Retired Environment Court and District Court judge Gordon Whiting opened proceedings by emphasising the board's independence, saying it had no pre-conceived ideas about the project.

More than 80 percent of the submitters are opposed to all or part of the proposal.

NZTA says any adverse effects can be avoided, remedied or mitigated and its lawyer Andrew Cameron urged the panel to grant the consent.

He said while there are acknowledged effects on some parties which despite the agency's efforts cannot be mitigated, no developments of this scale are effect free.

If resource consent is granted, construction could begin in the latter half of this year.