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Q&As from April/May 2017 public engagement

General questions about the project

What is the Wellington to Hutt Valley Walking and Cycling Link?

The NZ Transport Agency is partnering with Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Hutt City Council to provide a safe and efficient 12-kilometre walking and cycling route between the Wellington CBD and Melling. The W2HV Link will also connect with other walking and cycling facilities such as the Petone Esplanade and the Hutt River Trail.

The project involves three sections:

  1. Wellington CBD to Ngauranga section – a Wellington City Council project. This cycling facility will run from Bunny Street along Thorndon Quay and Hutt Road to the Ngauranga interchange. This section is jointly funded by the Urban Cycleways Fund, the National Land Transport Fund and the Wellington City Council.
  2. Ngauranga to Petone section – an NZ Transport Agency project. This is a shared off-road path from the Ngauranga interchange to the Petone interchange. This section is jointly funded by the NZ Transport Agency, the Wellington City Council and the Greater Wellington Regional Council.
  3. Petone to Melling section – an NZ Transport Agency project. This is an off-road cycle path with shared path connections linking the Petone railway station to the Hutt River Trail. This section is jointly funded by the Urban Cycleways Fund, The NZ Transport Agency and the Hutt City Council.

Why is the Wellington to Hutt Valley Walking and Cycling Link important?

More people than ever are cycling in and around Wellington. The W2HV Link will better connect Wellington and the Hutt Valley and make it easier and more attractive for people to walk and cycle between the two in a healthy, enjoyable and safe way. The W2HV Link will provide better service compared to the existing northbound cycle facility on State Highway 2, and will provide a walking facility where there currently isn’t one. The W2HV Link will also connect to existing Hutt City and Wellington City walking and cycling networks.

Many people already choose to walk or cycle to work. Cyclists use local roads or dedicated cycleways to ride between the Wellington CBD and suburbs such as Khandallah, Karori, Newtown and Miramar. For cyclists travelling between the Hutt Valley and Wellington, the only direct route is State Highway 2, either on the existing southbound cycleway between Horokiwi and Ngauranga or on the northbound shoulder heading to Petone. Safety concerns and poor service discourages many cyclists from using this route.

What are the expected benefits and outcomes of the Walking and Cycling Link?

The key benefits include:

  • a high quality shared path for people who want to cycle or walk
  • sustainable and affordable transport
  • promotes healthy lifestyles
  • riding a bike becomes a safer and more attractive transport choice shifting people from vehicles to cycling and walking which also reduces traffic congestion and emissions
  • the opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to ride a bike using a path that accommodates less confident as well as experienced cyclists
  • more connections to the wider cycling network
  • better safety standards and capacity improves the network's resilience to events such as storms and earthquakes
  • supports tourism-related cycling and boosts the Wellington regional economy.

What is the Urban Cycleways Fund (UCF) and how is W2HV Link being funded?

In 2014 the Government announced funding for the southern (Ngauranga to Wellington CBD) and northern (Petone to Melling) sections as part of the Urban Cycleways Programme (UCP).  $9m was made available towards construction of these sections.

The UCF will fund cycling facilities in Wellington City and Hutt City as well as the route between Petone and Melling as part of the W2HV Link. Funding for the middle section from Ngauranga to Petone falls outside the UCF because the construction period is outside the timeframe. Instead it will be funded through the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) with contributions from Greater Wellington Regional Council, Wellington City Council and Hutt City Council.

Will cyclists use the new walking and cycling link or are they more likely to continue using the shoulder of the road on State Highway 2?

Feedback indicates that most cyclists will use the new facility, although some experienced/competitive cyclists may choose to ride along the shoulder of the highway.

Can more confident/competitive cyclists still choose to ride on the highway?

State Highway 2’s designation as a highway allows for people to cycle alongside the road. However we’ll encourage cyclists to use the new walking and cycling link.

How does the W2HV Link fit with the national cycling policy?

The W2HV Link is part of a $300m nationwide investment over three years by the Government and its partners into urban cycleways. The Wellington to Hutt Valley Link is one of the Government’s top 10 urban cycling investments.

How does the project connect with the Petone to Grenada (P2G) link road?

The two projects connect geographically at the Petone interchange. The project teams are sharing information and considering how the W2HV Link proposals will fit with P2G.  There are some benefits in aligning construction of the two projects. One clear benefit is that excess soil and rock from constructing the P2G link road could be used to reclaim shoreline needed to construct the W2HV Link. If we decide to combine them, more work will need to be done regarding funding and joint construction.

How does the walking and cycling link support the Great Harbour Way?

The W2HV Link supports the vision of the Great Harbour Way, which is to create a continuous walking and cycling route around Wellington Harbour.

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Ngauranga to Petone section

What are the key elements of the preferred option for the Ngauranga to Petone section?

Key features include:

  • a new walking and cycling bridge just north of the Ngauranga interchange that links the existing shared path on State Highway 2 to the new seaward side shared path between Ngauranga and Petone
  • a wide shared path on the seaward side of the railway line from Ngauranga to Petone that has additional build-outs to provide rest areas at regular intervals
  • the overall width of the platform and seawall will vary based on the nature of the coastline along the route
  • potential further widening at three locations to facilitate straightening the railway tracks which will enable faster train journeys
  • links to the existing path just south of the Petone interchange, which will be rebuilt as part of the Petone to Grenada link road
  • connection to Petone train station via a new underpass from the Hutt Road at Petone, just south of the train station.

Why did the NZ Transport Agency select a seaward side option for the path?

In November 2015 the NZ Transport Agency and key stakeholders for the Wellington to Hutt Valley Walking and Cycling Link confirmed a preferred seaward option for the section between Ngauranga and Petone.

The seaward option selection was based on consultation outcomes and feedback from stakeholders, user groups, iwi representatives, community groups and the general public during 2014 and 2015. It was also based on an assessment of the wider benefits this option can provide, including safety, look and feel, and resilience for both the highway and the rail corridor between Wellington and the Hutt Valley.

When options were publicly discussed in 2014 and 2015, the majority of public feedback supported a seaward option. Most people who preferred a roadside alternative did so only because it could be built sooner. View questions and answers about the consultation and the consultation report here.

What are the advantages of a seaward side option?

Roadside shared path options were considered between the road and the rail along SH2 and options that cut into the hillside. Compared to a seaward path, these options would not provide the same safety benefits or look and feel. The seaside option has the added benefit of providing a more resilient corridor for all transport users by providing a stronger seawall that is able to withstand the impacts of severe weather and can be adapted to address sea level rise.

Why does the seaward side option end at the Ngauranga interchange?

A seaward side path past the Ngauranga interchange was considered as part of a long list of options. This wasn’t feasible due to:

  • the lack of an obvious route and safety concerns around cyclists and pedestrians passing the ferry terminal
  • linking the route to residential and employment areas is problematic when compared to the Hutt Road
  • prohibitive costs.

Will it be challenging to get consent for a seaward side path?

Our consent documents will outline the ways we intend to minimise adverse effects on the environment from the construction and operation of the seaward path.

We’re looking for further support to make sure that our consent applications are successful, and welcome your comments or concepts on how to mitigate any adverse effects. It’s important to have public input before and during the consent process.

How will you manage the environmental effects of coastal reclamation?

Much of the marine environment along the foreshore from Ngauranga to Petone is already highly modified as a result of previous reclamation, with the shoreline mostly constructed of concrete walls and imported rock armouring.

Identifying and assessing mitigation measures is a key part of preparing consent applications. We’re working closely with iwi, ecologists, coastal experts, NIWA, urban designers, civil engineers and the planning team to develop an inspiring coastal pathway design and user experience. This work involves looking at how to incorporate new native planting while restoring the coastal habitat for seabirds. We’re also looking at how to design a seawall constructed of natural rock that will be resilient to major storm events and adaptable to future sea level rise.

Why didn’t you propose separate facilities for cyclists and pedestrians?

The numbers of cyclists and pedestrians we expect to use the facility doesn’t indicate a need for separate paths. We believe the new path will be wide enough for cyclists and pedestrians to safely share the facility.

Selecting a shared path also balances the needs of path users with the need to minimise the impacts on the coastal marine environment which would be greater with the wider reclamation that would be needed for separate facilities.

How will the path be separated from the rail corridor?

A dedicated and fully segregated shared path will be provided away from motorised vehicle traffic along State Highway 2 between the Ngauranga and Petone interchanges. We propose a diamond mesh fence between the rail corridor and the shared path, similar to the type of fence used in the 2016 upgrade of the path near the Ngauranga underpass.  There will be enough clearance between the shared path and fence to prevent safety issues with bike handle bars.

Will the path remain open during adverse weather?

We will design the path to minimise sea spray and, where possible, to withstand environmental effects. However, the path is close to the sea which means it could be closed during high winds or severe weather.

How will you address pedestrian and cyclists’ safety concerns along State Highway 2 until the new path is available?

We will continue to monitor the existing path between Horokiwi and Ngauranga to safeguard cyclists until an off-road shared path is available.

What will be done with the existing off-road cycle path between Horokiwi and Ngauranga?

This is yet to be determined, and will be considered as part of the whole corridor approach, looking at the needs of all users.

Where does the Ngauranga to Petone cycleway stop and the Petone to Melling cycleway start? Is there a seamless link?

The Ngauranga to Petone section has a different schedule for completion but is being designed to link seamlessly with the Petone to Melling section. The paths will physically connect where the Petone rail underpass meets the existing Hutt Road path at the Petone interchange.

What are the next steps for the Ngauranga to Petone section?

We have more work to do on the concept design to confirm how much foreshore to reclaim, the shape of the seawall, rest areas and the bridge. We also need to consider mitigation requirements based on the width of the reclamation platform. We plan to bring you further information and get your input in late 2017. This round of consultation will help us prepare our resource consent applications.

Do you plan to have further public consultation on this project, if so when?

We plan to engage with stakeholders, local communities and the wider public to get feedback on the design and mitigation elements of the Ngauranga to Petone section in late 2017.

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Petone to Melling section

What are the key features of the Petone to Melling section?

The Petone to Melling section will provide an off-road cycle path along the rail corridor. There will be links to shared paths from Hutt Road to the Petone railway station and at the northern end of the cycle path to the existing Hutt river Trail. Key elements include:

  • the Petone rail underpass
  • the route through the Petone railway station car park
  • the cycleway along the rail corridor and southbound bypass connection off SH2 at the Dowse interchange
  • connecting the Parliament Street rail underpass to the Hutt River Trail.

What are the next steps for the Petone to Melling section?

After taking on-board public feedback, we anticipate that we will lodge any needed consents and begin construction at the end of 2017. Given it is important to connect at the southern end to the Ngauranga to Petone section and work with any revised Petone interchange requirements from the Petone to Grenada link road, we intend to start construction from the northern (Normandale) end.

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Q&As from 2014/2015 public engagement

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