Friday, December 30, 2011

Milford Dart tunnel vision

Public submissions on this controversal proposal close at the end of January.  In essence the idea, pushed by a private enterprise, is to build a new road including an approximately 11 km long tunnel between a dead-end road at Glenorchy on Lake Wakatipu to a point on the Te Anau - Milford Sound road and thus create a shortcut between Queenstown and Milford, which presently involves a 286 km drive.

It's hard to view this without having ambivalent feelings.  It is not a Steven Joyce type proposal to replace a railway line with a motorway; instead it puts in place a transport link that doesn't presently exist, and would only be for buses, not cars or Mr Joyce's big trucks.   But it would go through a pristine National Park. 

Understandably Te Anau businesses don't want it, as it would potentially take visitors away from Te Anau. Alternatives to the tunnel mentioned include an aerial cable-gondola over the mountains instead of the road and that sounds much more like a winning idea in every respect.  More on the TVNZ website

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