A controversial road project through the Auckland suburbs of Mt Albert and Waterview has been granted a draft consent by a Board of Inquiry.
The $2 billion Waterview Connection is the first roading project being considered using the new national consenting process, introduced by the Government to fast-track projects of national significance.
The connection will form a missing link between State Highway 20 to State Highway 16 and provide an alternative route from north to south. Most of the 5km motorway will run through tunnels.
The New Zealand Transport Agency says the draft decision includes some changes to the proposed set of conditions, including moving the location of ventilation stacks and additional open space requirements.
The proposed positioning of the stacks next to a kindergarten and school had upset locals, who asked for them to be moved.
The agency's regional manager, Tommy Parker, says getting the draft consent is great news and the road will make it easier for Aucklanders to get around.
Construction is likely to start by the end of the year, he says.
The Transport Agency now has 20 days to provide feedback to the board before it releases a final decision on 30 June.
Residents opposed to the motorway say they are heartened the board has listened to their concerns.
The Albert-Eden Local Board deputy chairperson, Margi Watson, is relieved at the changes she believes will reduce the negative impact on the community and says it is now up to the Transport Agency to accept the changes.