A Bridge or a Tunnel and a faster way to get Levin?

I’ve been meaning to blog about the Auckland harbour crossing ideas for a couple of days but Andrew Williams needed slaying and two detectives have been taking up a little bit of my time.

However since it has been announced that the Government is going to spend 2.2 billion on building a faster way to get to Levin, I can now talk about the Noveau Think Big projects of this government and compare and contrast.

Auckland desperately needs a sensible harbour crossing. The current rubbish bridge is in disrepair and bucking under the strain, trucks are now not allowed to travel on the Nippon Clipons for fears they will snap off. There are various options mooted but by far and away the most sensible would be to build an iconic and massive bridge across the harbour. For a start it would be $1-$2 billion cheaper than the Mad Mayor of North Shore’s favoured crossing idea of a tunnel. It could also be future proofed far more cost effectively than a hole in the ground. In general, bridges are at less risk than tunnels of being closed to traffic as a result of vehicle accidents, fire, flooding, or failure of mechanical systems. All manner of rescue equipment can be deployed for a bridge accident but only specialised and expensive equipment could, for example, contain, fight and clear a fire inside a tunnel, not to mention complex ventilation systems to vent toxic fumes.

Bridges are cheaper and faster to build than tunnels. Witness the impressive speed with which the new Newmarket Viaduct is being constructed and the additional Mangere Bridge. Who knows how the Victoria Park tunnel is going except there are hold ups and road work for no apparent reason.

Auckland is rapidly expanding with mere suburbs containing the entire population of Wellington City. Auckland generates massive amounts of our actual productive GDP and if you draw a line across the North Island at Taupo more than half the population lives above that line and all the towns and cities therein are contributing perhaps 75% of our GDP.

Sydney has its iconic bridge which makes our existing harbour bridge look silly and it also has the ANZAC bridge. Just on the basic of the duality of the ANZAC name and spirit we too should have an ANZAC bridge and dedicate the bridge the same as the Australians to our fallen warriors.

Now compare and contrast the rational of building Transmission Gully. Who the hell wants to get to Levin faster? Anyone? And who wants to get into Wellington faster? Nope no-one there either. Wellington is a cancer on our countries GDP, there is little if any real productive sector industry located in or near to Wellington. In fact with all those bureaucrats writing endless reports that no-one reads you could say that it is in fact the most destructive industry in New Zealand. The only people benefiting from Wellington are paper manufacturers and Bob Jones.

Pinko Warmist Farrar may wax lyrical about Transmission Gully but his car sat in the carpark of his apartment complex for three years unregistered and unwarranted. The only time he has driven out of Wellington was when I drove the Blogmobile out away from the miserable stinking place.

This is nothing more than a sop to old Muldoonists reminiscing about Think Big. The reasons that Transmission Gully has never been built so far are numerous. There is no positive cost benefit ration to justify it. It’s to be built on a fricken fault line, and no-one wants to get to Levin faster let alone Palmerston North. In fact if you asked people if they would like to get to Palmerston North faster or have a new hospital the hospital would win hands down.

One last thing, Steven Joyce has said that the toll will be no more than $3 for Transmission Gully. Where is the outrage? Where is the demands that the Minister be pulled into line? Maurice Williamson was pilloried by his own party and the media for suggesting exactly the same thing.

National leader John Key says comments by his transport spokesman that motorists could face tolls of $3 a trip on roads built under a National government are “premature”.

In August National’s transport spokesman Maurice Williamson got into trouble for saying people would be happy to pay $5 each way on a toll road — which equated to $50 a working week.

At the time Mr Key described the MP as “excitable” and said tolls were more likely to be around $2.

On Radio Live today, Mr Williamson added a dollar.

“Of course the answer to that is it depends on which road,” he said.

“If it is quite a short distance road of a few kilometres, somewhere in the city-type link, you’d only be talking of $1 or $2. If it’s a very long haul road you may be talking of $3.

“Those are the sorts of numbers.”

But Mr Key again shot down Mr Williamson’s figures.

“I haven’t really seen the context of his comments, but there is no point in us making comment about what price a toll road will be because we haven’t even identified what road would be tolled so it is far too premature to be talking about numbers.”

Personally I don’t care a fig about how much the toll is, but could we please have some consistency. Maurice Williamson lost his Transport portfolio allegedly because of this supposed “gaffe” and now Steven Joyce has directly contradicted his own leader who said before the election that tolls as high as $3 were very premature. I won’t hold my breath waiting for Steven Joyce to be similarly ticked off.

There are clear benefits for fast tracking a new iconic bridge for Auckland and there is no reason other than creating Noveau Think Big projects for building a four lane highway via Transmission Gully to Levin.

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