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Waka Kotahi considering future of SH1 and SH58

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is considering options for the future of two existing state highways in the greater Wellington region upon the completion of the Transmission Gully project.

Following a strategic review on the predicted future functions of the relevant sections of State Highway 1 (SH1) between Mackays Crossing and Linden, and State Highway 58 (SH58) between Paremata and Pāuatahanui, Waka Kotahi is proposing that SH1 remains a state highway and that SH58 has its state highway status revoked and responsibility transferred to Porirua City Council – a process known as revocation.

Waka Kotahi will be consulting with councils, iwi, communities and stakeholders as part of this process. 

“There is understandable interest from the community in both of these roads, so we will be working to help people understand what this proposal means for them,” Waka Kotahi Senior Manager System Design Robyn Elston says.

“Waka Kotahi’s position is based on the relative importance of each corridor following the opening of Transmission Gully.”

The SH1 route will continue to meet the definition of a state highway, as it will connect significant centres of population, carry significant traffic through an urban area, connect with the existing state highway network, and improve overall performance and management of the network. 

There are also significant maintenance costs and complexities associated with this route, including seawalls, steep terrain, and proximity to the rail corridor.

Maintaining a third available alternate route into Wellington will also improve the resilience of the transport network. 

Porirua City Mayor Anita Baker says Council will work with Waka Kotahi to ensure the best outcomes for the Porirua community.

“We will focus on the function of the roads and how they impact the connectedness and safety of our communities. We’ll want to ensure our ratepayers are not disadvantaged in any decision. We know that roads cost money.

“I’m pleased that Waka Kotahi understands the considerable interest in our city about the future of both roads and that this is the start of an iterative process. We look forward to working through these matters together,” Mayor Baker says.

Kāpiti Coast District Councillor and transport portfolio holder James Cootes says even with Transmission Gully open the current section between Mackays Crossing and Linden will be best managed by Waka Kotahi.

“We are comfortable with this proposal,” Mr Cootes says. “While we will see a drop in traffic volume once Transmission Gully opens, the existing Linden to Mackays Crossing road will remain an important alternative route for a range of reasons, particularly from a resilience point of view. Retaining its state highway status is the right option.

“We look forward to working with Waka Kotahi and the community on the future form and function of the road, including addressing some longstanding issues at the Paekakariki intersection.”

As a smaller and less critical piece of the state highway network, SH58 between Paremata and Pāuatahanui will no longer meet the definition of a state highway after the opening of Transmission Gully. 

It will not be a critical alternate route or affect levels of service on Transmission Gully should it be closed for any reason.

“Between now and the opening of Transmission Gully, we will be working to better understand how to ensure this road is fit for purpose. One of our priorities will be to consider safer speed limits and other safety measures,” Ms Elston says.

The revocation process requires Waka Kotahi to ensure a road is safe and fit for purpose, in that it provides a level of service equivalent to other roads providing a similar function within the local network. 

Waka Kotahi will also discuss options relating to the Paremata Bridge and Mana clearways as part of the process, as is required under the designation conditions.

Waka Kotahi will be working closely with council, iwi, key stakeholders, residents’ groups and the broader community to better understand the future function, which in turn dictates the form, of both SH1 and SH58. 

This consultation process represents the first stage of an iterative process for the wider transport network.

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