31 Jan 2009

Road Transport Forum against expensive tunnel

7:17 am on 31 January 2009

A road user group is urging the Government to drop plans for a tunnel on what would be the most expensive road in New Zealand.

The Waterview Connection would extend State Highway 20 from Mt Roskill to Waterview, to complete a western ring route linking Manukau, Auckland, Waitakere and North Shore cities.

The cost has risen from $1.9 billion dollars to $2.8 billion.

Minister of Transport Rodney Joyce has ordered a review, saying the cost is significantly more than originally estimated.

Road Transport Forum chief executive Tony Freidlander applauds the move, saying he hopes the Government will come to realise the tunnel is an extravagant and short-sighted option.

Federated Farmers agrees, adding that the money could be better spent elsewhere.

Mr Joyce says the current plan for four lanes also leaves no room to expand as traffic grows and a six lane tunnel would cost more than $3 billion.