Given my penchance for going on about Transmission Gully, it is great news that Land Transport New Zealand has agreed to fund the construction of a median barrier along Wellington’s Centennial Highway between the Fisherman’s Table restaurant and below Pukerua Bay. See your petrol tax can be used on something useful!
Transit hopes to use this funding to start construction in March 2006, although if it needs resource consents and some useless entity opposes it, it will hold it up for far longer. I don't expect environmentalists should, as it shouldn't mean building out over the coast (but probably means some widening), only some trenchant Transmission Gully supporters may oppose it, because they think letting more people die along this road will increase pressure for their pet project.
Admittedly, following on from the congestion relief from the recently opened Mana upgrade, this project, for only $15.2 million does reduces pressure for accelerating Transmission Gully at its $1.1 billion cost (or even the 4-laning along the coast). This will make the road much safer (hopefully nobody will cross the line between the barrier and Pukerua Bay – it isn’t being installed on that hilly section) and because of that, it will be closed far less often (it is almost always only closed due to accidents) - meaning far less pressure for an alternative route. Whether Transmission Gully is built or not, the existing highway should be safer and this will make a big difference!