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Pathway for pedestrians and cyclists will improve safety on Wainuiomata Hill

Press Release – Hutt City Council
Work on the much-anticipated $11.1million Wainuiomata Shared Pathway, some 10 years in the making, is to begin after ground at the foot of Wainuiomata Hill was broken this morning.

With an estimated 15-18 month build-time, the new 4m wide off-road sealed and separated pathway will provide pedestrians and cyclists safe access up and over the steep and winding Wainuiomata Hill Road.

The pathway will also boost access to existing mountain bike trails and walkways and improve connectivity between the wider Hutt Valley and Wainuiomata.

Mayor Ray Wallace said the concept of a pathway over the Wainuiomata Hill to protect cyclists and walkers from the busy road has been supported by the Wainuiomata community for many years and it is a “watershed moment after all the hard work from community and Council, with the support of the Government and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), to see the pathway become a physical reality”.

“Projects such as this don’t happen without partnership and when the Wainuiomata Shared Pathway opens for use it will be a proud moment for all those involved.”

Deputy Mayor David Bassett, who led this morning’s ground-breaking ceremony on behalf of Mayor Wallace, said providing a safe and integrated network for commuters and recreational cyclists and walkers will open up Wainuiomata to the wider Hutt Valley.

“We want Lower Hutt to be a great place to get out on a bike or hit the pavements on foot but this will only be possible if people have safe, reliable options. It’s fantastic we’ve been able to access the Government’s Urban Cycleway Fund and partner with the NZTA to make this important pathway happen.”

Wainuiomata Councillor Campbell Barry also said the community has been behind the concept of a shared pathway to address safety concerns for many years and it’s “fantastic to see work finally underway”.

“Providing a safe walk and cycle path will be a game changer in how we see and use the Wainuiomata Hill. Along with everything else happening, it will truly transform the Hill into a regional asset.”

Wainuiomata Councillor Josh Briggs said the Pathway will be an asset for not only Wainuiomata locals but the wider city with future linkages to the Eastern Bay Shared Pathway and the Lower Hutt CBD planned.

“Linking the Pathway with other areas of the city will make active transport safer for the people of Wainuiomata as well as residents of the wider city and visitors alike. It is set to be a great time to get more active in our city.”

The Pathway is designed to complement the Pukeatua Bridge at the peak of Wainuiomata Hill which was completed in 2015.

Funding for the project is split between Hutt City Council $4.6million, the Government’s Urban Cycleway Fund $1.8million and NZTA $4.7million.

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1 comment:

  1. Glen Smith, 2. December 2017, 16:45

    Congratulations to Hutt City and the NZTA for investing in cycling. However this road is long and very steep (average gradient of 11.6% and maximum gradient of 41.6%!- source veloviewer). This would be a struggle even with an electric bike which, at a cost of $2-3,000, few in Wainuiomata will be able to afford. It seems unlikely that many commuters will be attracted out of their cars. The question arises whether there is an alternative to which the $11 million could be put.
    In 1932 the Government commissioned a tunnel between Gracefield and Wainuiomata but this was only 1/3 completed although to an impressive 4.9m height and 7.8m width. It has a gradient of 1:15 (6.7%) which is too steep for rail but much easier for bikes/ pedestrians and fine for buses. It was completed in 1980 but only to a diameter of 2.4 m. It houses the 1.1m watermain from the Wainui catchment along with a sewer and telecommunications.
    Stuff reported in 2016 that the cost of completing the remainder of the tunnel had been estimated at $40 million. I can’t find the report (does anyone have it) so it is unclear whether this was just excavation and support or whether this included ventilation etc for cars. This seems cheap in terms of transport infrastructure (the pointless ‘Smart motorway” to nowhere cost $100 million) and the question arises of completing this as dedicated PT/ cycle/ pedestrian corridor which would also supply a second egress for Wainuiomata in the event of the hill road closure. This would tie in with Transport plans for Lower Hutt/ Petone where ‘..the Petone Spatial Plan favours the construction of a bypass along the Gracefield/Seaview rail corridor.’ This doesn’t seem unreasonable as long as rail is retained for future use (the available corridor looks wide enough for rail road and cycle) and this would provide a rapid bus route from the exit of the Wainuiomata Tunnel via Tunnel Grove and Hutt Park Road directly to the Woburn Station.
    A cycle/pedestrian pathway over the hill is a good idea but, if money is short, putting this towards a more definitive solution by completion of a shared bus/cycle/pedestrian tunnel (that would facilitate high quality PT) would seem more sensible.

     

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