Wellington Scoop

Election fast-track – $72m interchange promised for Melling intersection

News from National Party
The Government today announced the fast-tracking of a new interchange at Melling and the investigation and design of an interchange at Kennedy Good Bridge.

Local list MP Chris Bishop today joined Prime Minister Bill English and Transport spokesperson Simon Bridges to make the announcement.

The Melling Interchange will cost an estimated $72 million with the funding to come from the National Land Transport Fund and the budget capital allowance.

“The Melling intersection has been a headache and a safety risk for the Hutt for many years so I’m delighted that the Government is fast-tracking a new interchange,” Mr Bishop said.

“Improving the Melling intersection was one of the top transport priorities for Hutt people in my recent transport survey in the electorate.

“Getting traffic into Lower Hutt faster without clogging up State Highway 2 will be a big bonus and it’ll be easier for people to get back across the bridge to the highway at the end of the day.

“This ease of access in and out of the Hutt CBD will be a boost to productivity and economic growth, so I’m really pleased.

“Construction is expected to start within the next three years if National is re-elected.”

“We’re also working with Hutt City Council to find a replacement option for Melling Bridge which is the choke-point for water flow in the Hutt River and just isn’t wide enough to cope with traffic needs,” Mr Bishop said.

“A new interchange at the bottom of Kelson across Kennedy Good Bridge will be fantastic too, so I’m really looking forward to seeing the outcome of the investigation and design that National announced today.

“In time we’ll be able to travel from Upper Hutt to Petone with no traffic lights to disrupt the flow of traffic, and that’s going to make a big difference for Hutt commuters.

“These projects are also important because State Highway 2 is a critical route in and out of Wellington – linking the capital, the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa through to Hawke’s Bay.

“A detailed business case will be developed for both projects, which will also fully integrate flood management plans for the Hutt River.”

News from NZ Government
National will fast-track construction of the new Melling interchange as well as the investigation and design of a new interchange at Kennedy Good – both along State Highway 2 in Lower Hutt, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says.

“State Highway 2 is the main commuter and freight route linking Wellington, the Hutt Valley and the Wairarapa through to the Hawke’s Bay. It is a busy and strategically important highway which is a critical route in and out of the Wellington region,” Mr Bridges says.

“The Melling intersection is currently a real choke point, particularly at peak times and the use of traffic signals at the intersection is a safety and crash risk.

“A new interchange at Melling has been talked about for decades, but in recent years there have been growing calls for work to start to support the growing traffic flows.

“So a re-elected National-led Government will start work on the new interchange as quickly as possible to unblock the growing congestion and get traffic flowing freely, with our aim to start construction in the next term of government,” Mr Bridges says.

“The new interchange will improve travel times for people and freight moving around the Wellington region, support economic growth and boost the region’s productivity. It will also ensure a safer and more reliable connection to the Hutt City Centre and Western Suburbs.”

It will cost an estimated $72 million to complete with funding to come from the National Land Transport Fund and the budget capital allowance.

The council-owned Melling Bridge across the Hutt River will also be replaced, with discussions to continue about how the replacement of the bridge will be paid for.

National will also fast-track the investigation and design of the increasingly busy Kennedy Good interchange at the junction of State Highway 2 and Fairway Drive, north of Melling.

“We will complete this work in the next term of Government and agree on the timing for construction with the Hutt City Council to ensure the project is built faster.”

A detailed business case will be developed for both projects, which will also fully integrate flood management plans for the Hutt River.

“Fast-tracking these important interchanges on State Highway 2 will ensure this strategic highway in and out of Wellington is resilient and supports the region’s strong growth.

“We know that one of the factors that underpins productivity is New Zealand’s infrastructure. A National-led Government will continue to build this essential infrastructure to keep New Zealand’s economy growing,” Mr Bridges says.


  1. Cackle McFee, 16. September 2017, 8:11

    Productivity? Does he mean bureaucracy, profiteering and corporate commerce labelled as “productivity”.
    The economic growth of whom? The Crown corporation of New Zealand?

  2. Francis McRae, 16. September 2017, 8:46

    Another poll led by Labour, and another major road announced by National. Like clockwork. [via twitter]

  3. Andy Mellon, 16. September 2017, 20:28

    These interchanges should have been done years ago. In terms of route resilience, there are only two ways out of Wellington and making those roads as high quality as possible is essential. Vastly preferable to building additional roads in my view. From my point of view, it’s something I raised with Chris Bishop during this election campaign at one of the meet the candidate opportunities.

    Mind you, not sure how they can afford all of this pork barrelling.

  4. Glen Smith, 17. September 2017, 11:37

    Since a significant percentage of trips can only be undertaken by road, maximising road efficiency shoudn’t be seen as a bad thing – the aim should be to maximise the efficiency of all modes. However the National Party, Mr Bishop and the NZTA seem to remain under the delusion that unbalanced road expansion can continue forever. This is despite overseas experience, experience in Auckland and the basic science showing that once car density reaches ‘critical density’ (see previous Scoop entry) it becomes pregressively less efficient (less people transported per time) until finally ‘jam’ density is reached (no people transported). Ever-expanding road transportation is ultimately self defeating and we are clearly now in the downward part of this inverted U curve. This is supported by the research (Opus TN24 report) predicting congestion from the Hutt to increase by 400% by 2041 and over all congestion by 98%. It is unclear why the National Party, Mr Bishop and the NZTA fail to understand this basic science – the two possibilities are an information deficit or a comprehension deficit. Or perhaps they don’t really care about congestion and the high cost it imposes.

    The only solution, once density across a city on average reaches ‘critical density’, is to move an increasing proportion of trips onto more efficient transport modes (bus/ rail/ cycle). Planners overseas came to this realisation years ago. The most efficient is rail and Lower Hutt has a dedicated rail corridor, but it is hamstrung by ending over a kilometer (by foot) from the main centre. A new bridge would be an ideal opportunity to rectify this deficiency. The best solution (in my opinion) would be a new short (around 600m long) elevated rail corridor (much as I dislike elevated rail in general) passing above the south end of Block Road, crossing the Hutt River, following Queens Drive and continuing above the New World carpark to enter the Queensgate carpark at height (first level). This could be combined with a new road bridge. A reconfigured Melling station would still supply park and ride capacity. Trains could be a mixture of units that travel all the way to and across the city (via the essential and inevitable across town rail corridor) to the airport, or units that travel to meet the main Upper Hutt line at Petone or (at what logic dictates) should be a new station near Percy Ave (near where the Hutt and Melling lines separate).

    Because unbalanced roading expansion is illogical, any plan to build a new road-only Melling Bridge should be ferociously opposed.

  5. glenn, 19. September 2017, 6:53

    Actually it should be ferociously encouraged.

  6. John Rankin, 19. September 2017, 12:16

    @GlenSmith describes a failure to understand the basic science and suggests the two possibilities are an information deficit or a comprehension deficit.

    In Dark Age Ahead, the always-reliable Jane Jacobs discusses “Science Abandoned” (chapter 4). She writes of traffic engineering:

    Here they are, another generation of nice, miseducated young men [sic] , about to waste their careers in a fake science that cares nothing about evidence; that doesn’t ask a fruitful question in the first place and that, when unexpected evidence shows up anyhow, doesn’t pursue it; a science that hasn’t been building up a coherent body of knowledge that organizes its own direction by grace of the succession of questions it opens.

    Jane calls traffic engineering “this incurious profession.”

    Glen rightly emphasizes the basic science but it appears the officials advising government have been captured by alchemists.