Destroying a valley with a four-lane expressway

Takapu-Valley panorama
Photo from Transport Blog

The Auckland-based Transport Blog has raised serious concerns about the surprising and unwelcome plan to build a four-lane expressway through the Takapu Valley.

Michael Dickens writes:

The concept of Wellington’s Transmission Gully Road and a Petone to Grenada Link Road has been around for decades. Suddenly, though, we’re blindsided by major new motorway options ‘tacked on’ with haste to the proposed Petone to Grenada Link Road (P2G) … These new options (one includes the destruction of a whole rural valley – option D) have appeared with no public planning, and were a surprise to the Wellington City Council, which questions why they’re needed. Option D will be an unnecessary four-lane motorway through the beautiful rural Takapu valley, a unique gem within Wellington City District, as a preferred option over widening 3km of existing SH1 (option C) between Grenada North and the start of Transmission Gully…

Map from Transport Blog

Michael Dickens says the plan, incredibly, gives equal weight to a short term gain for traffic management and the loss forever of a rural asset, productive farmland, environment, and a community. He says that at an NZTA open day these were called ‘esoteric costs’ which didn’t count.

What’s more we were only given a few weeks to gather information from a standing start, to formulate objections for something that would change and ruin livelihoods and landscapes forever. A process you wouldn’t expect in an OECD democratic country. It’s the further relentless imposition of the roading network.

NZTA’s justification is that extra capacity is needed – which isn’t right. They say that when Transmission Gully Road is connected at Kenepuru/Linden, and Petone to Grenada (P2G) is connected to Grenada – the mere 3km section between these two points on SH1 can’t cope with the extra traffic so option C or D are suddenly needed. But traffic will drop! The traffic on SH1 Linden is the same traffic, going to the same places – whether or not it’s coming from SH1 or Transmission Gully. In fact it’ll be less after Transmission Gully Road is connected.

Michael Dickens writes that the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment stopped the original Transmission Gully Road going through Takapu Valley because the impacts were too high. He says the Transport Agency should go back to the drawing board and build option B that was planned for decades – simply connecting P2G to SH1 south of Tawa. It would save between $50-150million and wouldn’t devastate communities and the environment.

You can read his full article here.

Wellington.Scoop: Residents unhappy about plan to bulldoze their valley



  1. Bob, 28. March 2014, 18:10

    This is appalling. It’s as if Wellington NZTA engineers have seen it as their big break – build roads while you can boys – crazy

  2. EKG, 28. March 2014, 18:15

    As a taxpayer, I don’t see this as good use of public money. Very ill considered and short-sighted.

  3. Raewyn, 28. March 2014, 19:46

    The ‘Takapu Tack-on’ is madness ….it would be such a waste to see this special place ruined – rich bird life due to local pest control and planting by residents, a pristine stream, increasing stands of native trees and access to the Belmont regional park. They wouldn’t put a motorway through Zealandia!!!

  4. Ellie, 28. March 2014, 22:34

    Does seem as if N Z T A is making hay whilst the sun shines and the petrol flows. Roads we won’t need as much as public transport in 10 years, Truly an example of an elite refusing to see the writing on the wall whilst they could make a bob with out-dated concepts.
    Can anyone imagine these ‘engineers ‘ going back to Europe and boasting about what they achieved in Godzone? I expect not..

  5. Mchael Dickens, 29. March 2014, 7:45

    The thing that everyone needs to get their head around is the fact the main north-south corridor has moved eastwards with the introduction of Transmission Gulley. This changes the travel flow dynamics.

    The fact that it will only be only a few kms from SH2 where it intersects at Judgeford means SH58 becomes the road for anywhere in the Hutt Valley – including Petone. What is SH58′s gain is SH1′s loss. Meaning less traffic going through the SH1 Tawa section and less traffic turning left at the SH2 junction to go to Petone (which is the bottle neck). None of this has anything to do with traffic through Tawa that will see traffic drop. Therefore widening SH1 Tawa or slapping a new motorway through the Takapu Valley are the wrong solutions.

    What people would benefit from is the improvement of SH58 so it will take the heavier traffic and make it safer. This will need to be done as geographical facts – distances, gradients and height climbed – mean it will be route used particularly by trucks. It also needs to be connected to SH2 with a split level junction.

    SH2, a road that NZTA have correctly identified as an issue, needs to have the traffic lights taken out of its Lower Hutt section and be widened between Ngauranga and Petone to 6 lanes with a motorway intersection between SH1 (S) and SH2 (N).

    The work on SH2, SH58 and the SH1/SH2 junction will fulfil the objectives that NZTA say they are trying to fix – namely removing the bottleneck at Ngauranga that builds up SH1 in the morning and again going to the Hutt Valley. It will improve the flow through the Hutt Valley and interconnectedness with the main trunk road North and will reduce accidents.

    So where does a widening of SH1 through Tawa or Takapu Valley motorway come into any of the real solutions? NOWHERE;.

    Schemes ‘C’ (SH1 widening) and ‘D’ (Takapu Motorway) need to be rejected..

    It can all be fixed and improved by applying logic to what we already have.

    As a parting thought. Governments and their departments should be there to act on our behalf, to protect us and be stewards of the land and environment for future generations. It is their moral duty to do the least harm to the people and land. The NZTA is such a department that has forgotten this and is out of control, describing such values as ‘esoteric’. Bulldozing a road through a rural valley – with its permanent loss of livelihoods, quality of life for those who live there, and rural asset for those who enjoy it – trampers, cyclists, horse riders – forever – because quote ‘it’s easier than having to consider traffic management on a live road’
    Bulldozing a swathe of houses, classrooms etc – because they can’t be bothered to move the median barrier!!!

    We are not ‘esoteric’, we are real, so are houses, classrooms and lives, and to just put it all down to collateral damage goes against all ideas of natural justice.

    When an arm of Government can inflict such catastrophic damage to its people and environment without recourse – something is massively wrong and needs changing.

    I suspect not under this Government as the NZTA strides around like a great colossus, emboldened by bullying its way through – a well oiled machine with mastery of misinformation and setting community against community in fake local battles and riding roughshod over people and reasoned argument

  6. Mike, 29. March 2014, 8:07

    A word to anyone who thinks that option ‘D’ – Takapu Motorway – is a good idea because it will protect then from ‘C’ – SH1 widening. Remember all of SH1 is a Road of National Significance and as such is under notice for improvement anyway. We could end up with both roads.

    The only way forward is to send a message, backed by Peter Dunne, telling the NZTA to go back to the drawing board and scrap both options, and spend the money where it’s needed – namely improving SH58, taking out the traffic lights on the Lower Hutt section and improving the SH1/SH2 junction with a proper motorway junction and a widen of SH2 as far as Petone.

    The roads through Tawa don’t come into the equation at all to address the real problems and should be scrapped.

  7. Ange, 30. March 2014, 12:12

    Maybe they just have too much money to spend and need to spend it before they lose it. hence why its being pushed through with such haste.
    NZTA need to be held accountable to be spending our money on roads that are not needed. Look at all the roading projects around the country and see how many are actually needed??? How many communities are fighting them not just because of NIMBY but because they don’t add up on any level.

  8. Dan, 1. April 2014, 16:56

    Wellington’s traffic is comparable to Auckland’s even though we have less than half the population. Too many people trying to save their precious wildlife. I say we have plenty of wildlife already, why not make the trip for thousands of people less painful.

  9. James, 1. April 2014, 21:56

    Pity about the people in the North, who have logging and want more tar seal. Between widening SH2 south of Petone and widening SH58, they are both geographically constrained and would be fairly horrendous.

  10. CC, 1. April 2014, 22:35

    Dan – please provide some evidence for your comments. They seem to have little semblance of integrity. As for saving precious wildlife, did you know that despite being one of the smallest countries, NZ has among the largest number of endangered species in the world? Unfortunately, blogsite trolls, probably including yourself, don’t figure in the extremely worrying statistics of creatures that face extinction.

  11. Ellie, 2. April 2014, 10:42

    CC, Wildlife, sites of special interest, endangered species, farms, homes, people’s livelihoods = esoteric considerations. Real men don’t do quality of life, especially other people’s lives; it’s just how fast they can get around in their car / SUV, pretending it’s good for business. Real men like ‘Concrete’ probably don’t eat quiche either

  12. Desmond Ng, 2. April 2014, 13:04

    The people of the Takapu Valley are facing what aware people in Porirua have already lost. To this government the environment is of little worth beyond the democratic facade of the EPA. The NZTA will simply pay a crony expert or scientist to present sham evidence on the supposed positive environmental spin-offs when this highway is built. Once contradictory sham evidence is introduced, honest scientific evidence loses weight.
    The NZTA and their masters did exactly this when it came to the sedimentation of the Pauatahanui arm of the Porirua Harbour and its nationally significant wetlands.

  13. Bob, 4. April 2014, 8:03

    Once Transmission Gully road is open I won’t use SH1 to head north, I’d take SH2, then Hayward’s SH58, and hook onto Transmission Gully at Judgeford – saves a lot of hills. Others will too, so building extra capacity on SH1 doesn’t make sense, especially when background traffic figures are dropping anyway.

    But then NZTA don’t know anything about roads, they’re just glorified project managers with a line of contracts to keep self interested snouts in self operated troughs, to keep themselves in business.

  14. Dwayne, 9. April 2014, 9:09

    Shame on NZTA and Mr Brownlee for trying to sneak in a new link motorway between Transmission Gully and the Petone to Grenada road just before an election.
    Let’s call it what it is – it is not part of Petone to Grenada, it is an entirely new section of motorway between Grenada and vicinity of Takapu substation. The people of Tawa/Takapu and anyone else bullied by the biggest company in NZ should be concerned – this process just isn’t right.

    Why would you plough a new 4 lane motorway, next to a fault line and transmission lines, that is parallel to an existing section of SH1? If you look at the big picture (map from Transport Blog) isn’t SH58 the obvious route north from the Hutt valley?

  15. Tam, 11. April 2014, 12:30

    The “public good” versus “ecology” argument kinda falls apart if there is no demonstrable public good to be had from wrecking the ecology. The P2G road has a demonstrable public good. This Takapu thing is just overreach to no purpose. There’s no time to be saved, there’s no congestion to ease. It’s just a road for the sheer joy of building roads.


Write a comment: