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Community engagement is an important part of our work to develop and improve the transport network.  Over the course of the project, we talk with and meet people, property owners, businesses and stakeholders to keep you informed about our proposals and make sure you’re aware of your opportunities to help shape the proposals we aim to get approval to construction. This page includes details of most recent community engagement activities as well as giving a summary of previous community engagement.

May 2018 community engagement

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Hutt City Council (HCC) and the Greater Wellington (GW) sought feedback on three options for a new Melling interchange and for how a new bridge should connect into Hutt City. We will use your feedback, alongside technical information, to select a preferred option. The preferred option was announced in April 2019 – a diamond interchange connecting directly to Queens Drive.

You can learn more about the RiverLink project:

April 2017 community engagement

Waka Kotahi worked with the Hutt City Council and the Greater Wellington to engage with the community on the RiverLink project from 3 to 30 April 2017.

The Waka Kotahi primary aim for this engagement was to understand stakeholder and community views on where a replacement Melling Bridge should be located. We also learned about community preferences for the location of the Melling railway station and a pedestrian/cycling bridge that could influence aspects of the Melling transport improvements project.

Customer insights research 2016

In October 2016, we carried out research to help us better understand people’s local travel patterns around Melling and Hutt City.  We wanted to know the places they visit, how they travel, the routes they use and why they use them.  We also wanted to find out more about the sort of problems people encounter when using the Melling and Block Road intersections, travelling through and accessing Hutt City, the river area, and the nearby residential areas including Harbour View and Tirohanga.

Waka Kotahi talked to over 70 people at the Riverbank Saturday market and at Melling train station as well as holding in-depth face-to-face interviews with local residents and business owners.

The key themes we identified from our customer insights included:

1. Hutt City is considered a great place to live and bring up families – there are excellent schools, services, retailers and recreational activities.

2. There are many people who aim to avoid using the Melling area, using a variety of workarounds to do so.

“We avoid Melling. We go up to Kennedy Good Bridge from Lower Hutt to get out, even though Melling is closer, it’s just because of the intersection.”

3. Safety concerns, congestion, navigation issues and traffic delays are all contributing factors to why people avoid using the Melling intersections and bridge.

“Sit out there at 5:30pm and count the amount of people that run red lights at Kelson, run red lights at Belmont, run red lights [at Melling], they just go.”

4. People’s views about the Melling train station were polarised – for some the station is easily accessible, safe and a pleasant open space. For others the limited frequency of the train service and limited parking are considerable pain points.

“Moving down from Auckland we were blown away by how good the public transport is here.”

5. Melling is not perceived as a gateway to Hutt city or a specific destination as it lacks presence.

“Ugly, industrial and hard, it’s a funnel, which is a different tone from something like gateway. Gateway has a sense of presence…whereas Melling when I use it it’s simply a way to get somewhere…it’s aesthetically unpleasing but you know, it’s a road.”

6. There is a complex set of interactions that occur between those travelling along SH2 past Melling, and those using Melling to get into and out of the Hutt.

7. There is poor allowance for those who don’t drive (pedestrians and cyclists) at the intersection and station.

“Pushbike is a little bit more daunting because realistically if I want to bike into Wellington I have to go along State Highway 2 or take a hell of a long route through Pharazyn Street. There’s not a lot of room for cyclists, in fact there’s none.”

What’s next?

Talking to people has given us valuable insights into our different customers’ point of view, their travel experiences and sense of place and community. It has provided the Waka Kotahi with an important piece of the puzzle in understanding what the issues are and how these might be addressed.

We will continue to work with the community and listen to views on proposals to improve the Melling intersection.  We will also continue to work with the RiverLink team to ensure we come up with a joint approach with Greater Wellington and Hutt City Council to deliver better flood protection, better lifestyle and improved transport links for the people of central Lower Hutt.