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Route announced for Wellington Northern Corridor

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The NZ Transport Agency Board has announced key decisions on the route for the Wellington Northern Corridor, marking a major milestone in the strategic development of this section of State Highway 1.

The NZ Transport Agency Board has announced key decisions on the route for the Wellington Northern Corridor, marking a major milestone in the strategic development of this section of State Highway 1.

The corridor, identified by Government earlier this year as one of seven roads of national significance, will be developed as a four lane expressway from Levin to Wellington Airport.  The corridor will be built in sections with the overall route substantially completed within the next ten years.

Today’s announcement includes the decision to progress Transmission Gully rather than the Coastal Highway Upgrade as part of the Wellington Northern Corridor.

NZTA Board Chair Brian Roche said this question was considered very carefully before a final decision was made.

“Our task was to choose the route which would deliver the best result for the region and New Zealand, while also bearing in mind the potential impact on the environment and surrounding communities. In the end it was clear that Transmission Gully was the better choice. It is less expensive, it will provide a safer four-lane route, it’s better for local communities and better for the environment, and it will reduce travel times between Kapiti and Wellington.”

Mr Roche said the Board had also chosen a preferred option for the Kapiti expressway route, another key part of the Wellington Northern Corridor. After careful consideration the Board had selected the Sandhills (Western Link) route as the preferred option.

“We are keenly aware that this is a very significant decision for the Kapiti community, and this was not an easy decision for the Board. The Sandhills option is the least expensive, it will deliver the best results alongside continuing investment in local roads and public transport, it will require the purchase of the smallest number of private homes, and it also avoids town centres.

“After carefully considering all three options and the feedback from the community on each we came to the conclusion that this route best balances the needs of the Kapiti community with those of the Wellington region and the country as a whole. This new route will help ensure that Kapiti continues to contribute to and benefit from economic growth in the Wellington region.”

Mr Roche thanked the Kapiti community for ensuring that the Board were well informed of their views on the options, with more than 4,500 submissions provided.

Developing the Wellington Northern Corridor will reduce congestion, improve safety and support economic growth by allowing people and freight to move more efficiently through the region.

Mr Roche said the four-lane corridor would deliver a wide range of benefits including:

  • Support for a regional population which is expected to increase by 65,000 over the next 20 years
  • More efficient movement of increasing freight volumes through the region
  • Improved access to Wellington’s port, CBD, interisland ferry terminals, airport and hospital
  • Relief of severe congestion
  • Improved road safety
  • More reliable journey times.

Mr Roche said the route chosen for the corridor had been selected because it will deliver the best results for the region and New Zealand alongside continuing investment in local roads and public transport.

“We’ll work with local authorities and other agencies to integrate the Wellington Northern Corridor with other transport connections including local roads and rail.”

He said the NZTA would focus on significantly completing the entire Wellington Northern Corridor, from the Airport to Levin, within ten years.

“Our ultimate goal is to improve transport for all New Zealanders. Developing this route will contribute to that goal by providing safer and more efficient access in and out of the capital.”

Mr Roche said the NZTA would initially concentrate on planning all the projects within the 100km Levin to Wellington Airport corridor, with the focus for the next three years on designating land for the improvements, and providing certainty about what is to be done and when.

“This process will include public consultation and other opportunities for people to help us determine the final shape of these projects, with some discussions happening as early as next year.”

Priority would be given to projects which address key bottlenecks first, easing congestion and creating capacity where it is most needed while other projects in the corridor are prepared for construction.

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