The ‘nerves of steel’ cycleway
‘‘You would have to have nerves of steel to ride this road,’’ Hutt City Mayor Ray Wallace says as he cycles nervously from Petone along State Highway 2 to Horokiwi, where the PetoneNgauranga cycleway-footpath ends, about a kilometre from Petone.
The track was complete until the 1970s, when its north end was sacrificed to make way for a merge lane for southbound Esplanade and Hutt Rd vehicles joining State Highway 2.
Since then, southbound cyclists, runners and walkers have been forced to use the highway shoulder for part of their journey to Ngauranga.
Mr Wallace described experience as ‘‘horrific’’.
‘‘It felt like a near-death experience,’’ he said.
‘‘Will I be racing to do it again tomorrow? ‘‘Absolutely no way. ‘‘This is the only direct road from the Hutt [to Wellington], so
the it should be for cars, cyclists and walkers.’’
Wellington Mayor Celia WadeBrown also checked out the incomplete cycleway-footpath.
‘‘ People [ cyclists] are taking their lives in their own hands,’’ she said.
The only alternative route for walkers is via Porirua, Pauatahanui and Haywards Rd, she said.
‘‘The New Zealand Transport Agency should be bringing it forward as soon as possible and I hope we get support from the regional transport committee,’’ she said.
Restoring the broken path is one of the measures proposed for the next 10 years in the draft Hutt Corridor Plan, currently open for public submissions.
An option under investigation includes improving the existing off-road cycleway, a connection across the railway and a new offroad facility on the seaward side to Petone, at a projected cost of $14 million.
Other measures of interest to cyclists and walkers in the 10-year plan are an upgrade to the Hutt River trail between Petone and Upper Hutt, a new cycle and walkway between Upper Hutt business area and schools, and a ‘‘beach-to-bush’’ walk and cycleway in Petone.
Among the proposed public transport expenditure items are improved train stations, more park-and-ride spaces, refurbished or replaced Ganz-Mavag trains and a review of Hutt Valley bus, train and harbour ferry services.
Roadworks include a $ 40m interchange at the HaywardsState Highway 2 intersection, a new Petone-to-Grenada highway, traffic flow improvements to Petone Esplanade, the Western Hutt Road, State Highway 58 and Grays Rd.
Work planned more further ahead than 10 years includes railway improvements, safety upgrades on State Highway 58, interchanges at Melling and Kennedy Good bridges, and making Upper Hutt’s River Rd four lanes between Silverstream and Moonshine Bridge.
Submissions on the draft Hutt Corridor Plan close at 4pm on Wednesday, June 15.
For a copy of the plan or for more information, visit www.gw.govt.nz/ huttcorridorplan, or in person, visit a local library or Wellington Regional Council’s office at 142 Wakefield St, Wellington, or call 0800 496 734.
Closing the gaps: Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Hutt City Mayor Ray Wallace are keen to see the unfinished one-way cycleway between Petone and Ngauranga completed.