Wellington Scoop

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