Wellington Scoop

$4b spend – National promises two more tunnels, and four lanes to the planes

collins judith election policy

News from National Party
A National Government will invest another $4 billion in transport infrastructure across Wellington, igniting the economy and delivering the congestion-busting solutions the region has long been crying out for, says National Party Leader Judith Collins.

At a speech to the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce in Petone today, Ms Collins outlined National’s plan to spend $4 billion across the Wellington region over the next 20 years, on top of funding that has already been promised through Let’s Get Wellington Moving and the New Zealand Upgrade Programme.

That will take total Government spending on transport in Wellington over the next 20 years to more than $12 billion under National.

“This region is choked by congestion. Wellington has the worst traffic in Australasia for a city under one million people,” Ms Collins says.

“Wellingtonians spend more time sitting in traffic than people from Brisbane – a city five times its size. My Government will fix this.”

National’s Wellington and Hutt Valley Transport Package includes:

· Fast-tracking construction of a second Mt Victoria Tunnel and delivering a second Terrace Tunnel

· Fixing congestion at the Basin Reserve through grade-separation

· Rapid transit between Wellington’s CBD and airport in the form of rapid buses or trackless trams

· Removing highway traffic from Wellington’s inner-city streets by undergrounding SH1 through Te Aro

· A new highway connecting Seaview in Lower Hutt to SH1 north of Wellington

· Upgrading Wellington’s metro network, including new trains to improve services between Wellington, Masterton and Palmerston North

· Widening SH1 to four lanes between Wellington’s CBD and airport (Ruahine St and Wellington Rd)

· Widening SH2 to four lanes between Silverstream and Whakatiki St in Upper Hutt, and fixing dangerous intersections through new interchanges

“The Wellington region has talked about transport for far too long. The time for endless and interminable squabbling is over. It’s time for action, and my Government will deliver it,” Ms Collins says.

“Let’s Get Wellington Moving was designed as a package of investments, but Phil Twyford and Julie Anne Genter ignored the recommended investments, removed the state highway projects and pushed the second Mt Victoria tunnel to 2029 or later. Our package implements what was recommended and what Wellingtonians want.”

The new Mt Victoria Tunnel will deliver more reliable travel times between Wellington’s CBD and eastern suburbs, as well as the airport. It will reduce traffic volumes on Evans Bay Parade and Oriental Parade, enable rapid transit to be delivered by reducing traffic in Newtown, and improve walking and cycling connections to the eastern suburbs.

“Everyone in Wellington wins from having a second Mt Victoria tunnel.”

National’s commitment to delivering on transport will extend to passing special legislation, if necessary, to make sure the tunnel is constructed as soon as possible, Ms Collins says.

National will also save Wellington ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars by having central Government fund 100 per cent of the state highway projects, rather than asking ratepayers to pick up 40 per cent of the tab, which Labour intends to do.

“Pushing the go button on this infrastructure will create hundreds of jobs, decrease congestion, improve safety, and drive economic growth,” Ms Collins says. “Our plan is ambitious and comprehensive – but most importantly, it will actually get this region moving.”

Judith Collins’ speech

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  1. Patrick Morgan, 5. August 2020, 11:44

    These plans are a joke. Why? Waste of money, makes congestion worse, lock us in to high emissions, diverts investment from proven solutions such as PT. Unpopular. This is the death rattle of the roads lobby. We deserve 21st century solutions not 1960s thinking. [via twitter]

  2. Kara Lipski, 5. August 2020, 12:09

    Patrick I agree with you. The Nats are locked into old transport solutions. It’s high time they faded into history.

  3. Tim Jones, 5. August 2020, 12:16

    Like a scene from an old zombie movie, National’s transport policy for Wellington lurches into view. It’s crying out for brains, thought, vision. Instead, what we get are the old, defeated, discredited policies of more roads and more tunnels, more roads and more tunnels – a never-ending, vicious circle of wasted investment. It’s time for modern transport policy that makes action to reduce emissions a central priority.

  4. Gwynn Compton, 5. August 2020, 12:52

    I’ll leave debate about the Porirua, Hutt City, and Wellington City elements to people there, other than to say I’m gutted trams/light rail aren’t part of the mix for the CBD to airport corridor. At a minimum a new Mt Vic tunnel must be able to accommodate trams in the future. [via twitter]

  5. Thomas Nash, 5. August 2020, 13:00

    The only transport policy that makes any sense in the face of our climate reality is transport policy that shifts urgently away from the current massive over-reliance on individual car trips. We simply cannot drive or road our way out of this one. [via twitter]

  6. Concerned Wellingtonian, 5. August 2020, 13:05

    Councillor Nash, please tell me whether I should vote Labour or Green in order to get what you think is “sensible” in transport.

  7. Rich, 5. August 2020, 13:22

    That’s the best National can come up with? More roads!? Out dated ideas by an out dated party.

  8. Francis McRae, 5. August 2020, 13:37

    Yes making a big tunnel to enable more cars to funnel into a narrow dead-end peninsula will definitely ‘smash congestion’. [via twitter]

  9. Ralf, 5. August 2020, 14:30

    This proposal seems like it does not go far enough.
    Four Lanes will fill up almost immediately so the project should have at least 6 lanes or better 8 lanes to be future proof until 2030. Of course having a highway of that size with the amount of cars it will move around Wellington means that the arterial roads need to be widened. Kent/Cambridge Terrace should be widened, which can be easily done by removing the Townbelt in the middle of it. Taranaki Street needs also to be widened which requires some demolition of buildings on one side (or both sides).
    Further north some changes are also needed. Lambton Quay needs to be widened to at least 6 lanes and some of the buildings which will be removed should be replaced by parking lots. This will rejuvenate the city center, finally everyone who wants to park to shop can find a parking spot (parking of course needs to be free).

    Overall a pretty disappointing announcement by National since it won’t solve the congestion issues. The above will (or of course you could implement evidence based 21st century solutions, but for that we would have to look to other parties).

  10. Isabella C, 5. August 2020, 15:46

    @ralf superb satire, but plenty of folks (including many in high places) would think that’s a serious set of suggestions!

  11. Dave B, 5. August 2020, 18:58

    National: Whatever the problem, the solution is more roads.
    Thank goodness we get to vote on this!

  12. Matt L, 6. August 2020, 9:13

    So many of the ideas that fall into the “trackless tram” term are things that already exist and are in use around the world – where they’re just called what they are, buses.

  13. K, 6. August 2020, 9:42

    @Matt L: I think the big difference between buses and “trackless trams” is the amount of road width needed. You can fit two trackless tram lanes into the space that one bus lane requires.

  14. Christopher Bishop, 6. August 2020, 9:58

    Trenching Te Aro will allow urban regeneration, new walking and cycling links, and a park. New multimodal tunnels at Mt Vic and Terrace will complement rapid transit, allow for better public transport, and better walking and cycling links. [via twitter]

  15. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 6. August 2020, 10:59

    Hi K. A bus lane is typically 3.0-3.25m wide. A trackless tram (guided bus) may require a little less room, but you won’t squeeze two of them through that space! And whatever width is required for trackless trams, it’s just the same as your typical light rail.

    Light rail is proven technology, while guided buses aren’t. New light rail is being rolled out in many European and american cities. If guided buses are the bees’ knees, why aren’t they being built all over the world?

  16. Dave B, 6. August 2020, 12:26

    @ Christopher Bishop, yes – putting SH1 underground would bury the problem and create opportunities for regeneration in that vicinity. But it will do nothing to solve the problem of too much traffic overall, and too much car-dependency. It will do the opposite and worsen this. It will also divert major resources away from alternative solutions which could actually reduce traffic at-source.

    You said earlier that it is “ridiculous” that Wellington is still using a 2-lane Mt Vic tunnel. What is more ridiculous is that there is still no rail route connecting a major part of the region to the existing rail system, and 15,000 passengers arriving from the rest of the region by train every day get booted out at a single terminus, remote from so much of where people need to go. How many more thousands who could be on rail don’t use it because of this, and end up congesting the roads instead?

    This is at the heart of Wellington’s transport woes. Fix this first, then re-assess what the traffic problem looks like. Extend the excellent, electrified, effective regional rail system that we already have 90% of.

  17. TrevorH, 6. August 2020, 12:31

    This is wonderful news. Wellington has been shortchanged for years on government funding for transport. At last a commonsense approach.

  18. fossilfuelactionnetwork, 6. August 2020, 15:03

    Bring it on, cant wait, this should have been started years ago.

  19. Andrew, 6. August 2020, 17:02

    Please stop flogging that poor one trick pony.

  20. Mike Mellor, 6. August 2020, 19:49

    Christopher Bishop: “New multimodal tunnels at Mt Vic and Terrace will complement rapid transit, allow for better public transport, and better walking and cycling links” – or we could have just the better public transport, walking and cycling links, and have a couple of billion left over (and without all the well-documented problems that urban motorways bring with them).

    Justifying massive roading projects through alleged benefits to other modes is rather pathetic and obvious greenwash – as someone once said, lipstick on a pig.

  21. Keith Flinders, 7. August 2020, 10:03

    If one believed that National will actually follow through with the announced plans, then one would have believed that under this present administration we would now see 30,000 new homes built when the figure is a little over 100. One would also believe in Father Christmas and that LGWM was actually set up to achieve something which it hasn’t after 4 years. Purely a window dressing exercise employing the wrong skills.

    With the eastern suburbs due, in the next 30 or so years, to see a population increase of up to 30% then a mass transit system such as light rail is a must, but not one that meanders through Newtown. Using the existing tram tunnel and going through Haitaitai and Kilbirnie, but also traversing the Golden Mile rather than the Quays, will encourage people away from their reliance on private motor vehicles. Sheer volume of public transport users to higher density housing areas in Newtown and south will need a separate mass transit route.

    Existing Mt Victoria tunnel, plus the pilot tunnel alongside increased in size to take pedestrians and cyclists would save a fortune which can be expended instead on an adequate mass transit system. The city cannot cope with an increasing number of cars wanting to go into it, let alone park for hours on end in it.

    The city “fathers” of the early 1900s had vision and employed lateral vision, now the rational is to procrastinate then build as cheap as possible a short term solution. Karo Drive a prime example of poor planning.

    It is a folly to listen to politicians spout off on matters to do with public transport and roading in particular, as most of them have no in-depth knowledge at all on the subjects, just say what they think the public want to hear.

  22. Pseudopanax, 7. August 2020, 13:22

    A naked play for the Party Votes of those in the regions who dream of shaving a minute or two off their ride to the airport, a 1960’s failed vision that has done untold damage to our wonderful city already. There may be a case for a third Mt Vic tunnel but for walking, cycling, scooters etc or light rail. National Party Policy gives lip service to PT while appealing to the road lobby with barely a nod to the Climate Crisis or reducing emissions. Oh Dear!

    Sadly for us LGWM is horribly compromised already. The GWRC is divided between the regions and town. The NZTA almost exclusively does roading and needs to relinquish control of Rail to a new Department that will seriously champion and develop both Heavy and Light Rail fit for the 21st century. The WCC has a conflict of interest, earning $40 million from parking in town and as a minority shareholder in WIAL, a corporation determined to make money from parking thereby discouraging public transport.

    Those of us who live here in Wellington City are stuck between two monsters.. the NZTA and their Four Lanes To The Planes/ Road of National Significance at one end and the Airport and their car parking business model at the other end. A menu for further Cooking of the Golden Goose!

  23. Dave G, 7. August 2020, 15:05

    Dave B I have long considered your extending the railway south proposal excellent and wonder why it hasn’t gained traction. I would love to hear more of this kind of thinking. Are you on social media?

  24. Dave B, 7. August 2020, 21:00

    Hi Dave G. I have a Facebook account but rarely visit it. Better to use email – david_e_bond@hotmail.com

    I too wonder why I have been such a lone voice on this for the past 30 something years. There are two reasons I believe:
    1) From the 1970s onwards, official transport policy became solely focused on road-development and earlier plans for rail extension were effectively binned. End-of-story in many minds.
    2) More-recent re-awakening of the need for better public transport is still heavily permeated by ‘roads-first’ thinking with the mindset that “Yes, we do need more PT, but it must be as cheap and timid as possible”. Hence extending existing rail gets dismissed without further thought. Add to this a group of transport enthusiasts who are passionate about light rail and who argue that if there is to be future rail development it should be this, and politicians and decision-makers who favour expanded rail-PT generally falling-in behind this group.

    Auckland has managed to break out of this deadlock with its City Rail Link in-progress, but even there, many advocate that any further expansion should be via some form of light rail, not conventional. There are definitely pros and cons with each that need working through, and a major issue is the specification-creep that has rendered conventional rail excessively-expensive – which light rail may be seen as a way of avoiding. But the present hiatus in Auckland’s light rail plans has shown that it too has limitations which need to be heeded. I would welcome a rigorous analysis of this whole subject for Wellington by professionals who are without prior-agenda and who know what they are doing.

  25. Chris Horne, 8. August 2020, 9:54

    The National Party appears to be blinded by tunnel vision. Recalling a 1 April article years ago in what was then “The Dominion”, accompanied by the design of a proposed bridge over Raukawa/Cook Strait, perhaps the National Party will pull out of a hat a promise to accompany its proposed second Mt Victoria Tunnel with a bridge linking Lyall Bay with Rarangi in Marlborough. Bye bye Cook Strait ferry services.