Wednesday, May 13, 2009

So when does Labour build tunnelled urban highways?

You have to laugh at the politics around the Waterview motorway, and the sheer hypocrisy of the Labour Party in opposing what is now a partly tunnelled partly surface route.

Yes, it isn't a surface motorway at all, it is 60% cut and cover tunnel under the Great North Road and a suburban area. However, the lies about it are rather infectious aren't they?

Since 1999, the following major urban motorway/highway projects have been started while Labour was in power. None were tunnelled.

- Grafton Gully upgrade - at surface option selected over tunnelled and viaduct options.
- Central Motorway Junction upgrade Stages 1 and 2 (no tunnel option.
- Greenhithe Deviation (Upper Harbour Motorway) - at surface.
- Mt Roskill extension of SH20, at surface.
- Manukau extension of SH20, at surface.
- Waiouru Peninsula highway and interchange (Otahuhu) at surface.
- Hamilton Avalon Drive bypass, at surface.
- Tauranga Harbourlink (second Tauranga Harbour Bridge with highway connection to Waikareao Expressway), elevated.
- Hawke's Bay Expressway northern extension, at surface.
- Wellington Dowse Drive upgrade on SH2, elevated.
- Wellington Inner City Bypass stage 2, at surface.
- Mana-Plimmerton upgrade SH1, at surface.

So you see, a tunnel isn't good enough for Greenhithe, Mt Roskill, Manukau, west Hamilton, Tauranga or downtown Wellington, but it is for Mt. Albert.

One tunnel was built, it was on the Northern Gateway toll road that now bypasses Orewa. It is a rural tunnel, and while strictly unnecessary it reduced the incline of the motorway (as a gully would have done). Another is proposed, the Victoria Park tunnel instead of a duplicate Victoria Park viaduct, largely because the ARC wanted it. Sadly the Nats are continuing with this waste of money.

How about urban highway proposals that were progressed under Labour that had no tunnel:

Hobsonville Deviation
Newmarket Viaduct replacement (imagine a tunnel under Newmarket instead of the towering viaduct)
Te Rapa Bypass
Tauranga Eastern Motorway
Tauranga Central Corridor Upgrade
Wellington Basin Reserve Upgrade.
Christchurch Southern Motorway extension.
Christchurch Northern arterial.

Yep, Labour has NO credibility on this issue. It looks glaringly obvious that the reason why Mt Albert was going to get a tunnel, but Greenhithe, Hobsonville, Mt Roskill, Manukau, Otahuhu, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch were not is politics.

So Darren Hughes is talking absolute bullshit when he says Steven Joyce "represents the old style of Tory Transport Minister who doesn’t give a toss about people who don’t live in a flash area" when his government pushed through urban highways in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier and Wellington.

It is more that Helen Clark and the last Labour government represented an old style serfdom, where the constituency of the Prime Minister is to be tunnelled with minimum disruption, but those who live elsewhere (except those at St. Marys Bay near Judith Tizard) can go fuck themselves. To be fair to the Greens, they have opposed some of those roads outright, but Labour? No credibility at all.


Luke H said...

I always wondered what was up with the Wellington Basin Reserve Upgrade. The part near the Terrace Tunnel looks like they meant it to be a covered tunnel but they got halfway through and decided it was too much hassle and left it open to the sky.

Wouldn't the potential space on top, right in the central city, be worth plenty of money?

Sean Fitzpatrick said...

The original idea was that the tunneling was to start in Buckle Street just ahead of the then Dominion Museum so as to go under Taranaki and Willis Streets, both of which would have become fly-overs.

Instead, as well all know, northbound traffic had to dog-leg down Taranaki and onto Vivian Streets in order to access the motorway.

Ironic that the original plan, abandoned on the basis it would destroy too much would have actually been less destructive to the old Cuba quarter so beloved by the anti-bypass activists.