It could certainly be worse..... a diagram would be nice.
Having seen the draft bills for the Auckland reconstruction (I'm quoted by proxy in a Greens release this morning about the secondment of existing councils' staff to the Auckland Transitional Agency), I can safely say that no matter how much of a "jobs for the boys" look the MFAT appointment appears to be it's nothing against what will be done for the ATA.
Is it anywhere online yet?
Yes it is strange that NZTA have somehow 'magically' found three options $300-700 million cheaper than the cheapest option they have previously explored. Very strange indeed.
I've writeen a guest post for "The Standard" on this issue: http://www.thestandard.org.nz/joyce-trashes-mt-albert/
Most of the "Your Views" are actually quite anti-motorway from my reading. Even National voters from Remuera.
There were a range of options considered by NZTA over a number of years. You can see the costings for all of them on the last page of this document: http://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/Katrina-09/Business-case-for-the-Waterview-Connection.pdf.
The cheapest option considered was a $1.456 billion Open Cut option. By contrast the twin tunnels were $1.89 billion when first costed. Therefore the difference was around $450 million - probably worth the extra money when you consider the social and environmental costs of an Open Cut option.
I still believe that the financing costs were added on for political reasons, as have been (to a lesser extent) the SH16 upgrade costs.
Now I don’t know how NZTA have come up with options with construction costs of between $760 million and $1.16 billion. But as you can’t get something for nothing, an option significantly cheaper than “Open Cut” is likely to be significantly worse. Otherwise, why were those options not considered earlier?
Either NZTA were idiots for 6 years when coming up with the original costing of the options, or there’s something dodgy going on here. I’m picking the latter.
OK it is official that the gutting of the RMA will be used to speed up the Waterview Connection:
**How does this affect the timeframe for construction of the Waterview Connection?**
Depending on the final scope of the project it could be possible to begin construction in 2011 and complete the project within about four years.
As a Road of National Significance this is expected to be progressed under the call-in process of the new provisions of the Resource Management Act which will significantly speed up delivery of the project.
From memory there were plans to possible have an interchange somewhere near the corner of Blockhouse Bay Road and New North Road. This would enable traffic from the west to access SH20. South-facing ramps are those that would point south (ie. exit ramp for traffic heading towards Pt Chev, onramp for traffic heading towards airport). Northfacing ramps are the opposite.
The idea of a central interchange was dropped because of the depth a tunnel would be. Perhaps it will come back on the cards now, but it was going to have some significant effects on traffic around that bit of Blockhouse Bay Road. In other words, it would be too popular for its own good, like most motorways.
I still find it tricky to believe that a $1.1 billion option can include more tunnel than a $1.456 open cut option.
These were the options up until today:
Why did NZTA not investigate the currently proposed options before? There MUST be a reason, and I think that reason is that their environmental/social effects were considered to be too great.
I would imagine they'll just can them Sacha. As you say there's only a certain amount of money in the NZTF each year. Joyce has already pushed most of it into state highway funding, even without this extra $1.4 billion to fund.
I suppose construction might start in 2012-2013 and this one project will eat a huge chunk of the fund for the few years it takes to build it.
This image linked to below shows the NZTF spending for the next 3 years I think. Imagine trying to skew that even further towards new state highway funding.
NZTF uses money from petrol taxes, road-user charges and so forth - which means that debt is not incurred. So it is cheaper than borrowing.
Interesting that everyone's moved away from PPP. I guess they've finally figured out it's a rort.