A Board of Inquiry hearing has begun into a proposal to build a $90 million flyover right next to cricket's Basin Reserve ground in Wellington.

The New Zealand Transport Agency has scheduled work on the motorway to begin later this year.

However, an eight-week inquiry will hear arguments for and against the project.

The proposal was lodged with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in June last year.


The EPA then recommended to the Environment Minister Amy Adams that the proposal was of national significance and should be considered by a Board of Inquiry, which she accepted.

The Basin Bridge proposal is for the construction, operation and maintenance of a two-lane, one-way, bridge for State Highway 1 westbound traffic on the north side of the Basin Reserve.

The bridge was one of seven sections of the Wellington Northern Corridor, which had been identified by the Government as a Road of National Significance, the EPA reported.

The New Zealand Transport Agency opened today's hearing, followed by opening statements from Greater Wellington Regional Council, which supports the proposal, then the Wellington City Council and the Basin Reserve Trust, which supports the plan in part.

Tomorrow, the Save the Basin Campaigns and Mt Victoria Residents' Association, which both oppose the proposal, will make their opening statements.

Witnesses include the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, the Architectural Centre, Wellington Civic Trust and the Rational Transport Society.

A draft decision into the hearing is expected in April and a final decision is expected at the end of May.


The Basin Bridge would consist of:

* a two-lane (one-way) bride;

* two new buildings;

* landscape and planting works;

* the creation of open space adjacent to the National War Memorial Park;

* new entrance plaza to the Basin Reserve; and

* changes to the approach to the entrance to Government House.