Sunday, January 27, 2008

Transmission Gully investigation hits problems

After Ohariu MP and Labour lackey Peter Dunne, and Porirua Mayor Jenny Brash shrieked and wailed for Transmission Gully, like they worship some kind of cargo cult - Labour bowed and threw taxpayers' money (not road users notably) worth $80 million to investigate and design the 27km motorway with a $1.02 billion pricetag (note how a reporter keeps quoting a figure of $955 million in 2005 dollars). That work is now hitting a snag. Engineers commissioned to do the first in depth investigation work of the route can't find the faultline along it. You might recall that politicians supporting the road were all far more concerned that the current route along the coast could be cut off by an earthquake, but in the "no shit sherlock" file didn't seem to notice that Transmission Gully IS ALONG A FAULTLINE. Let's build a billion dollar motorway along a faultline, on the basis that - hey if there is a major earthquake, even though the coast road might be knocked out, Transmission Gully almost certainly WOULD be destroyed. Engineers are finding the road might be too close to the faultline, and on top of that several farmers are saying no to having their land drilled to find out more. Understandably so - it is their land after all (for those unfamiliar with the concept, then please publish your name and address for people to explain what an absence of property rights means to come visit you).
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"Local geologist Tony Edwards, who mapped the section of fault line running through McKays Crossing, believed it ran several hundred metres east of where it was traditionally placed through the northern section of the Gully route. "It would not be wise to build a road or bridge within about 200 metres of the fault," he said"
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I don't doubt the first utterance that Transmission Gully might not go ahead will call screams of hysteria by umpteen politicians, who want their pet project to proceed.
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You see New Zealand is rolling in such bucketloads of GDP that it can afford to do this.
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No doubt Dunne and Jenny Brash will not care about the cost - ignoring that unlike all other road projects underway in the country, Transmission Gully cannot be built by only levying road users (certainly not by levying users of Transmission Gully) and its economics remain highly dubious.
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Anyway, if you want more on Transmission Gully, I blogged this issue to death two years ago. It highlights, more than anything, that when politicians meddle in an area, they very very rarely have the incentives to make decisions based on best value for money, but rather based on a popularity contest for how they look like they've spent the most of people's money for a monument.

1 comment:

Richard McGrath said...

Thanks for that Scott, some useful ammunition to use against those who drone on ceaselessly about TG in blissful ignorance of the facts.