Wellington Scoop

New Melling interchange delayed till 2028


News from NZTA
The NZ Transport Agency Board has endorsed the recommended option of a diamond interchange connecting to Queens Drive, as part of the proposed Melling transport improvements.

The Board has also endorsed the outcome of the re-evaluation of the Melling transport improvements project, which confirmed that the project aligns with the new priorities set out in the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS).

Transport Agency Director of Regional Relationships Emma Speight says a detailed business case for the Melling transport improvements project will now be completed.

“Funding for the next phase, involving further design and consenting, will then be considered against funding availability and nationwide funding priorities. We expect this to be in early 2020.

“Funding for construction of the Melling transport improvements will be considered beyond 2028.”

The Melling transport improvements project is part of the RiverLink partnership between the Transport Agency, the Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Hutt City Council aimed at creating a safer, more accessible and resilient transport network in the Lower Hutt.

Ms Speight says the selection of the interchange location will give some certainty to the two councils.

“We will continue to work with our RiverLink partners to ensure the proposed Melling transport improvements are coordinated with local government plans to reduce flood risk and deliver a more compact and revitalised city centre.”



  1. Andy Mellon, 17. April 2019, 17:51

    Ridiculous. I don’t believe in building new roads, but making those we have more efficient and safer is a reasonable use of transport funding. With the added impacts that the existing bridge has on the quality of flood protection for the Hutt, a 10 year delay to this project is simply unacceptable.

    As I’ve suggested before, perhaps rolling this into a wider project to extend the Melling Line to Kelson might make this an even more attractive proposition. Increased safety and fewer cars in the rush hour.

  2. Trevor Mallard, 17. April 2019, 18:22

    The timetable on the Melling interchange has been set by people who don’t understand the way flood and transport projects are linked. And how public and private transport have to work together. Poor quality NZTA decision making systems need to change. [via twitter]

  3. Andy Mellon, 17. April 2019, 18:41

    Well, there’s three Hutt South based MPs in Parliament. Any chance of you working together on this one? [“We need it now,” says Chris Bishop MP.]

  4. Dave B, 17. April 2019, 20:28

    What would make the existing Melling Interchange a lot safer is an approach-speed-limit of 80Km/h from either direction on the highway. 100Km/h is too fast to be barrelling towards the intersection with no predictability that the lights will remain green, and also too fast to be flying past traffic in an adjacent lane which may be stationary.

    NZTA, please slow traffic down through this intersection. An 80Km/h speed-limit from say 300m out from the intersection would make for much safer approach-behaviour, followed by a return to 100Km/h immediately beyond the lights.

    And the same please at the Kelson/Avalon intersection too, where similar conditions pertain.

  5. Andy Mellon, 17. April 2019, 21:15

    What would make SH2 safer is making it of an appropriate quality for the 2nd arterial route out of Wellington. An 80km/h speed limit is not going to change human behaviour and doesn’t help to reduce the additional car fumes from the constant stop/start on that road.

  6. Dave B, 17. April 2019, 21:59

    Andy we’re talking about a traffic light intersection. Vehicles are having to stop there all the time regardless of the speed limit. Reducing the approach speed for all traffic would make miniscule difference to car fumes. And it could bring safety benefits now, not in the 10 years it will take before the intersection is remodelled.

    And actually speed limits do change human behaviour. They bring down average traffic speeds (even if a few idiots ignore them). The Ngauranga Gorge for instance has been much freer of serious crashes since the limit was dropped from 100 to 80.

  7. Andy Mellon, 17. April 2019, 22:36

    And I’m saying that such an important road should be prioritised so that traffic lights are removed – that’s the best way to make this road safer for all, not with stop-gap, piecemeal measures. We’re far too guilty as a country of taking the cheap option rather than the best option.

    Taking out the traffic lights means no stop/start and fewer emissions. Also, the bridge needs to be rebuilt anyway in order to provide the strengthened flood protection that will be necessary, particularly as severe weather events increase. I’m not saying the status quo is acceptable, I’m saying that this should be fast tracked (and ideally linked in with enhancing the Melling line).

  8. Mark Shanks, 18. April 2019, 8:54

    Dave B is right. Reducing the speed limits before the lights at Melling and Kelson/Avalon can be done NOW. I ride my bike every morning and cross at the Melling intersection. It is no fun standing there waiting for the lights to change with cars and trucks barreling through at 100km/ph. Maybe you should stand there Andy Mellon and see how safe you feel. Just yesterday a foolish driver pulled out from turning right into Melling Bridge into the fast lane almost causing a major collision which would have taken out me and another pedestrian waiting at the lights. Slower speeds means safety!

  9. Andy Mellon, 18. April 2019, 13:58

    Any speed limit change isn’t good enough – do that or don’t do it, it’s beside the point. The speed limit solution doesn’t solve the flood protection issues or the emissions reduction that removing the traffic light junction deals with. If you want to push the speed limit issue, I’ve no problem with that – but the real solution is to remove the traffic light junction entirely as without that, nothing is really solved.

    The failure to act on a proper long term solution for this area of SH2 is unacceptable. The Hutt (and Wairarapa) MPs need to be escalating this issue now. The funding released from P2G should be available – why is there a 10 year delay on acting?

    And Mark, I’ve cycled along SH2 enough that I’m not a fan. That’s why I cycle along the cycle path after Petone and why I’m also annoyed at the delay after delay that we’ve had on the Harbour cycleway. I’m just after a better solution than the one you’re proposing. With the quality of driving these days, I don’t feel safe with cars going past at 80 or 100, but I also accept that SH2 is a main arterial route where cars should be able to do 100 km/h – just the current layout between Dowse and the Haywards doesn’t really support that. All of those problems are solvable with proper investment.

  10. Dave B, 18. April 2019, 15:11

    OK, I get where you’re coming from Andy. Agree, the Melling intersection needs sorting properly, but this looks like it will be years away. So much money being poured into SH1 at the moment (and on-going PPP commitment for 25 years), so other projects like SH2 get pushed aside. I am suggesting a simple safety mitigation for the interim.

    By the way, I like your idea of extending the Melling Line. The terminus at a buffer stop with no over-run allowance doesn’t suit modern expectations any more, so this could be fixed by extending – either to Kelson or even across the river into central Lower Hutt. But as I say – Transmission Gully etc is gobbling up all the transport funding in the lower Nth Island at the moment.

  11. Chris Horne, 22. April 2019, 20:02

    It is wonderful news that a decision on a proposed new Melling Interchange has been delayed by the NZ Transport Agency until 2028. This will give everyone nine years in which to realise that we simply cannot go on building massive roading projects to facilitate the movement of cars, most of which have only one occupant, the driver. Construction, maintenance and use of the proposed interchange would add huge volumes of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, compounding the increasing threat of runaway global warming and sea level rise.

    Perhaps the NZTA is starting to see the grim reality of the global impacts of decades of building massive roading projects, and is simply delaying telling the nation that it is not going to build any more motorway projects. We live in hope, so that we can pass on Planet Earth in reasonable condition to generations as yet unborn.

  12. Mark Shanks, 23. April 2019, 10:35

    Dear Andy, I acknowledge your desire and current legal right to drive at 100km/hr on a motorway but it is patently unsafe to do so through an intersection controlled by traffic lights. Your solution is to spend zillions on re-configuring the interchange so that you can continue on your merry way at 100km/hr and get to where you are going a few minutes earlier. To me, time is only precious because of how one uses it. It’s such a sense of entitlement to insist that one is ‘inconvenienced’ and should not be slowed down, by lights, by people, by pedestrians, by cyclists. Currently, people drive as fast as legally possible on their journey, yet most people get to where they are going and then sit down and have a cup of tea. We know that spending money on roads is counter-productive. Spend money on people and encourage them to take active and public transport and make existing roads safer by reducing speed limits. This saves money (and lives!) as opposed to spending more. Growth and speed are NOT proxies for progress. Quite the opposite!

  13. michael, 23. April 2019, 11:11

    I can’t really see how the Melling interchange is going to result in lots more cars on the road, but it will certainly make it a lot safer. I may be wrong but I understood the interchange was linked with the major flood prevention work which has been going on in the Hutt for years? Saving money on an interchange could end up costing millions in restoration, stress and health issues if the Hutt has a few major floods like the ones that have occurred over the past 20 years.

  14. Andy Mellon, 25. April 2019, 18:25

    Mark Shanks – you haven’t read a word I’ve written have you. 90% of the time, I use public transport, cycle or walk. I’m concerned about the safety and efficiency of the current Melling junction and I see this as an opportunity to extend the Melling Line to where it will garner more patronage at Kelson and get cars off the road. If you’d read any of my posts, maybe you wouldn’t leap to such inaccurate conclusions.

  15. John Rankin, 26. April 2019, 6:09

    Reducing the speed limit from 100 to 80 is a good idea; let’s just do it. But I’d go a step further. Install overhead amber flashing “traffic light warning” lights upstream from the intersection in both directions. Put them at a distance such that, travelling at 80 kph, if the lights start flashing before you drive underneath, you will have to stop. If they’re not flashing when you drive under them, you’ll have a green light.
    Advance warning lights are commonplace overseas on high speed roads. I don’t understand why we don’t use them. Could we have them southbound on SH1 at the police college lights too, please?

  16. Quentin Duthie, 7. May 2019, 20:18

    Does anyone wish to join me in advocating to NZTA to reduce the SH2 speed limit through the five sets of traffic signals between Melling and Kennedy Good Bridge? If so, please PM me on Facebook.

  17. Russel C., 8. May 2019, 8:35

    Quentin – definitely not me! Life’s is not about going the speed of a snail. It’s a State Highway for goodness sake and the ambition should be 110kph as in Australia. Grade separated junctions are what is needed and sooner the better.

  18. luke, 8. May 2019, 10:36

    I want to see a speed reduction for south bound traffic between Petone and Horokiwi as the hard shoulder is also used by pedestrians in lieu of the missing footpath. It needs to be given temporary barriers at the same time, until the shared pathway is built. Then they can have the hard shoulder back. We all deserve the ability to move safely.