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Don’t route Link Road through Takapu Valley – message from Regional Council

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Regional councillors are being advised that they should not support routing the proposed Petone to Grenada link road through the Takapu Valley.

A draft submission to the Transport Agency, which councillors are being asked to approve tomorrow, states:

The Regional Council supports the provision of an east-west link between State Highway 2 (Petone) and State Highway 1 (Grenada). The need for a new link … is identified in the regional land transport strategy, the western and Hutt corridor plans, and the Regional Land Transport Programme 2012.

[But]

The Regional Council is not convinced that the scale of the Link Road is justified in terms of
. the additional north-south capacity proposed under some options (six-laning State Highway 1 north of Tawa or a new parallel north-south link through Takapu Valley)
and
. the proposed six-lane sections of the Link Road.

The capacity of the Link Road needs to be considered in the context of the wider transport network, including other modes. An unrestricted, free-flowing highway may be beneficial for vehicles and freight but will work against the objectives of increasing public transport patronage and maintaining affordable public transport.

The Regional Land Transport Strategy is clear in its support for removing severe congestion at key bottlenecks and improving travel time reliability on the strategic road network, but this does not mean that it is necessary or desirable to attempt to remove all congestion at peak times.

Analysis … suggests that the forecast level of service on the section of SH1 north of Tawa as a result of the new Link Road is unlikely to result in severe congestion over the next 20 years. As such we believe that there is a strong case to avoid or defer any increased north-south state highway capacity….

…We do not support the proposed Option D (Petone to Transmission Gully) alignment as we consider it is primarily focused on delivering additional north-soutn capacity which we not consider to be necessary. In addition. from a land use and environmental impacts perspective, Option D involves a large new road footprint through an existing unspoilt rural area for what we consider may be limited additional strategic benefit.

The draft paper offers strong support for a new grade-separated interchange at Petone, and says it will be important that safety for all modes including pedestrians and cyclists is a key consideration in the design. It also says that “mot providing cyclist facilities [on the link road] would be a missed opportunity.” It wants the link road to be classified as a highway rather than as a motorway which would prohibit use by cyclists.

The draft paper supports an alignment which would avoid the Belmont Regional Park, and opposes two alignments which it says “would have an unacceptable impact” on the park and the Korokoro Valley.

The draft submission in full

UPDATE: Regional Councillors delayed a decision on their submission while they carry out research on the Petone to Grenada road plans.