The Herald reported this morning that there was discussion about the Wellington Street onramp at yesterday’s meeting of the Council’s Transport Committee. Discussion at that meeting revealed strong public support for reopening the ramp:
Support for reinstating a key Auckland motorway connection is shown in about 70 per cent of more than 700 public submissions, the Transport Agency acknowledged yesterday.
The Government organisation told Auckland Council’s transport committee that it had almost completed an analysis of the submissions and expected to start a new “community engagement” process next week.
It has infuriated communities from Karangahape Rd to Herne Bay by re-thinking a commitment to reopen the Wellington St motorway bridge after completing the $391 million Victoria Park tunnel project in February.
That is despite spending an undisclosed amount, believed to be several million dollars, on upgrading the ramp just south of the 450m tunnel.
I think it’s fairly inevitable that the ramp will be reopened. Despite numerous opportunities, NZTA has never detailed the argument for keeping it closed. In fact, they’ve never actually properly explained why it wasn’t reopened in the first place when the project was completed. The ongoing delays have just turned the whole process into a fiasco.
There may be an argument for not opening it in the evening peak, or for restricting the number of vehicles getting on the ramp during that time – as outlined by Ben Paul here. However the fact that NZTA has never come out an officially provided an argument for keeping the ramp closed (or the reason for not reopening it, which are presumably the same) makes me think they don’t have a particularly robust case.
In which case, just get on with reopening it. Enough bureaucratic messing around.