Wellington Scoop

NZTA stresses community support, downplays opposition to new link road

The concerns of Takapu Valley people don’t get a mention in the Transport Agency’s media release about community consultation on a new road that it wants to build between the Hutt Valley and Porirua/Tawa. The report downplays residents’ concerns and refers to “strong community support.” But the DomPost has this morning looked beneath the optimism. It reports the consultation showed “… ‘significant’ support for upgrading the State Highway 58 route over Haywards Hill rather than developing a new Petone-Grenada road.” This was despite SH58 being excluded from the consultation process.

Here’s the Transport Agency’s view of the consultation results.

News from NZ Transport Agency
A newly released consultation feedback report shows that community support for a Link Road between Hutt Valley and Porirua/Tawa is strong, there is widespread acceptance of the preferred route on the Hutt Valley side, and the economic benefits are well recognised. However, the community has also raised a number of issues it wants to see addressed as the Petone to Grenada (P2G) Link Road is developed further.

The Transport Agency today released a report summarising community feedback from the consultation exercise earlier this year for the proposed Link Road.

The Link Road would provide a far safer route than the existing east-west links and reduce journey times by up to 13 minutes. This would reduce the risk of serious and fatal crashes crashes, unlock new possibilities for economic development, and help to support Wellington’s plans for economic and residential growth.

Transport Agency Wellington Highways Manager Rod James says the Agency has spent the last few months analysing more than 1400 submissions it has received from the community and stakeholders, and has today released its consultation report summarising submissions.

Mr James says the Transport Agency is very pleased with the level of participation in the consultation exercise.

“We have received over 1400 submissions, which is a great response from the community, and it’s not just quantity; the quality of the submissions, in terms of the insight and work that went into them, was appreciated and will assist us in considering all the issues. This kind of response really sets the scene for the community and the region to have a strong level of input to the decisions that affect them. We would like to thank everyone who attended the public open days and made a submission.”

Mr James says the Transport Agency released a broad overview of feedback in May. The consultation report has now been completed, which provides a thorough analysis of submissions.

“The proposed Link Road provides a direct connection between the eastern and western sides of the region. This will provide immense benefits, but we recognise that projects of this size also have impacts. Listening to community feedback has enabled us to develop a strong understanding about what is important to the community.

“As expected, the community has expressed a wide variety of views, and these local perspectives will prove invaluable as we shape our plans into a more refined proposal.”

“We’re pleased to see that feedback suggests we’re on the right track, and that the benefits to the region’s transport network are broadly supported. There is strong support for a link, and most submitters support the proposed route between Petone and the Crest. There are understandably concerns about the two proposed options to connect the Link Road to State Highway 1 north of Tawa, and together with our partners we are taking a very thorough look at this to consider the best way forward.”

Mr James says this won’t be the end of the consultation process – the public will be asked for their views on different elements and stages of the project as it develops.

Fran Wilde, Chair of Greater Wellington Regional Council, says the proposed Petone to Grenada link is a vital connection for the region and it’s important the significant issues raised in the feedback are addressed.

“The Petone to Grenada Link underpins an agreed regional strategy to improve east-west connections, enhance our regional resilience, and deliver a shot in the arm for our economic development. It complements other planned investments for improving east-west links, such as upgrading SH58. We are also keen to ensure that the final project complements rather than competes with the considerable expenditure made in commuter rail in recent years .”

Hutt City Mayor Ray Wallace says the strong support for the route is a strong reflection of the significant benefits the Link Road would deliver for the people of Hutt City.

“The Link Road has the potential to improve peak traffic flow through Petone, make Hutt City more accessible and attractive as a commercial centre, and bring the region closer together.

“We are particularly excited at the project’s potential to support a freight and industrial hub that will support not only trucking and warehousing but also science and technology companies. This will create jobs and keep Hutt City at the forefront of our region’s economic growth.”

Mr Wallace says Hutt City will be working closely with the Transport Agency and other councils in the Wellington region as the project is developed.

Mayor Nick Leggett says he is not surprised by the strong support from communities who understand how important regional connections are for resilience, commuting and economic development.

“The region needs a strong east-west connection and Porirua City is supportive of this route.”

Celia Wade Brown, Mayor of Wellington says, “The detail of the Petone to Grenada route will be important, and I look forward to hearing the recommendations of the Chief Executive’s Forum later this year. Our existing District Plan does anticipate the Petone to Grenada link. This project, if consulted and implemented sensitively, will kick start one of our recently agreed special housing areas and the business potential for Lincolnshire Farms. This project will begin to implement the Northern Growth Framework,

“I am particularly interested in the potential of this project to facilitate a harbour side walking, running and cycling link between Hutt Valley and Wellington. I believe that such a facility would be excellent for both commuting and recreation along one of the most beautiful harbours in the world.”

Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy says the number of submissions received in consulting with the community on the proposed Link Road demonstrates the keen interest in connecting residents across the Wellington region.

“There are many merits in undertaking projects that will benefit both commuter and commercial transit; however, it is important that these projects are prioritised responsibly. The Transport Agency have assured me that SH58 remains an important east-west link and that its proposed safety upgrade remains a high priority. We recognise the regional value of a safe, efficient Link Road, but the first priority must be improving the safety of the vital east-west link that we already have, and I will continue to advocate strongly for that.”

What did the community say?

The report confirms there is general support for the Link Road, particularly between Petone and Grenada North, and broad recognition of the economic benefits to the region. A number of questions and concerns have also been raised, particularly regarding the options north of Tawa. There is clear support for the option proposed between Petone and the Crest of the Wellington Escarpment, and no clear preference for either option between the Escarpment and Tawa or Transmission Gully.

Key outcomes from the consultation report:

Clear support for a new Petone Interchange and the proposed option from Petone
Mixed views and no clear preference for either Option C or Option D
Request for more work to be done to confirm the need/timing of additional capacity north of Tawa.
Support for greater investment in public transport in the region
Similar numbers of people oppose and support tolling the new route
Tawa Community was the most represented group in submissions
Clear desire from Horokiwi Community to work with the NZTA to ensure suitable access is provided to their community
Many submitters raised environmental concerns relating to social, pollution and ecological effects
Support for a Cross Hutt Valley Link to be part of the new Link Road
Queries about the upgrade of SH58 as an alternative to the new Link Road

What are the next steps?

Mr James says the information received from the community will help to inform further discussions and ultimately decisions around the project.

“From the feedback we have received, the Link Road is broadly supported by the region. From here we will be working closely with councils and the community to ensure we deliver the best possible result for the region.”

Mr James says the project forms part of a wider transport package that includes continued record investment in Wellington’s public transport infrastructure and operations, the planned major upgrade to SH58, investigations into improvements to the Melling intersection, and a dedicated pedestrian and cycle pathway linking Hutt Valley to Wellington.

The Transport Agency, along with representatives of the region’s councils, is currently further investigating transport options for north of Tawa, including some of the alternatives proposed during the consultation process.

This report will form a vital part of discussions the NZ Transport Agency is having with its partners, and the joint P2G Chief Executive’s Forum established by the Wellington Regional Transport Committee in May of this year.

A decision on the preferred option for the project is expected later this year.

The consultation report can be found at http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/petone-grenada-link-road/


The Agency’s consultation report does mention Takapu Valley. It says that “many general comments surrounding the project were received. These ranged from full support of implementing both Options C and D, to support for implementing the project only as far as Grenada (i.e. opposing the widening of SH1 and/or the Takapu Link to Transmission Gully (TG)”).

General comments in support of the P2G Link Road related to:

Making journeys between the Hutt Valley and Porirua faster and shorter.

Provision of an alternative route between the two areas.

Traffic flow and reliability improvements.

Opening up future residential or business growth opportunities through improved

P2G being essential addition to the region’s roading network.

The priority for completion needs to be changed to urgent.

General comments in opposition to the P2G Link Road related to:

Impact of the Link Road on The Esplanade through increased traffic.

High cost to fix a congestion problem that only exists during a short peak hour period.

Just changing the location of congestion points.

Effectively splitting Horokiwi community in two.

Alternative options being better suited to address problems.