The Transport Agency has released details of proposals to better connect Hutt Valley with Porirua and Tawa by building a link road between State Highways 1 and 2 at Petone and Grenada.
Wellington highways manager Rod James says that by directly connecting the Hutt Valley to Porirua and Tawa, the project will create a more close-knit region with shorter, safer journeys, better resilience to incidents and natural disasters, and improved economic connectivity.
“This is the start of a process of consultation with public and local communities on the proposals, kicking off with an initial six weeks period when we will be holding public open days and seeking feedback on the issues and options,” says Mr James.
The community will also remain closely involved in the project’s development should it be progressed further through an RMA consenting process.
Decisions on the future of this proposal will be made later this year, and will include full consideration of the feedback that we receive through this process.
At this stage it is very much at the planning stage, but if a new link were to be progressed the Transport Agency would expect to be making RMA consent applications in the later part of 2015, with construction likely to start around 2018/19.
“We’ve been closely exploring options over the past year and our work has reached the stage where we want to share these with local communities and road users and hear their views and feedback before developing any of these further.”
“We appreciate there will be a range of views, and we are keen to hear them.”
Mr James says the two options being proposed to link the project to State Highway 1 – Option C and D – are designed to respond to future traffic growth. By drawing away traffic from the SH58 Haywards route, southbound traffic will be diverted along State Highway 1 between Porirua and Tawa en route to the new Link Road.
Given that the Petone to Grenada route reduces journeys by approximately 7km, traffic modelling predicts that more capacity will be required at this location as motorists take advantage of this shorter, more fuel-efficient route. Nonetheless, we know that these options have considerable property impacts and these decisions will not be made lightly.
Mr James says the existing highway network makes travelling between Tawa and Porirua in the west and the Hutt Valley in the east difficult and time consuming.
“Wellington’s highway network is shaped like a wishbone, and has two key transport corridors largely isolated from each other that link at the bottom to the Ngauranga Interchange, which is a major traffic pinch point.”
“Right now, if you want to travel between Tawa/Porirua and the Hutt Valley, you have to take a lengthy dog-leg through the Ngauranga interchange, or through the Haywards.
“The Link Road would open up freight movement by providing a direct and efficient connection between the region’s key industrial and distribution centres in Seaview and North Wellington.
“It will also provide work opportunities by making it more feasible for people to work in one centre and live in another. People will be able to commute directly from SH1 to SH2 without having to go the long way around.”
“If we reduce the travel distance between these economic centres, then it’s cheaper and quicker to do business. This means jobs, growth and a more competitive region.”
Mr James says the Link Road will reduce pressure on existing state highway routes because the existing SH1 and SH2 routes would be used less by motorists travelling between the Hutt Valley and Tawa/Porirua.
“Creating a shorter link will be more fuel efficient, it will be safer, it will save people valuable time and money, and it will create a transport network that makes better sense.”
Mr James says a direct link will unlock the potential for a direct public transport service between SH1 and SH2, and that the Transport Agency looks forward to working with Greater Wellington Regional Council to explore these possibilities.
He says the project will lift the resilience of the region by providing a new, reliable and modern east-west link. This means that if an incident closes down lanes of a highway, an alternative route is available to reduce the impact on commuters.
During an earthquake, it would also provide an alternative route to move people and supplies around the region.
“There are two main options currently proposed, and both of these options would require property acquisition. The Transport Agency is mindful of concerns from landowners about some options. We fully appreciate these concerns, and they will be an important factor in considering the future of these proposals. Our approach in talking with these land owners ahead of wider public consultation has been based on the need to give those most directly affected the opportunity to be personally informed about the plans, before they were released more widely.
Information days are being held on 22 Feb in Petone and 26 Feb in Tawa. Mr James says the Agency is encouraging people to come along to find out more about the project and talk to the project team. People can find information online at www.nzta.govt.nz/petone-grenada-link-road(external link),
The Petone information day will also provide details of the Wellington to Hutt Valley Cycle Link.
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Media Manager – Central
NZ Transport Agency
T: 04 894 5251
M: 027 213 7617