Mixed re­sponse to link road plans

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

The best op­tion to link Tawa and Lower Hutt is by no means set­tled, and NZ Trans­port Agency has also ac­knowl­edged that SH58 must be im­proved.

The con­sul­ta­tion feed­back re­port on the pro­posed link road be­tween Pe­tone and Gre­nada was re­leased last week by the agency. More than 1400 peo­ple pro­vided feed­back on the pro­pos­als, which in­clude a pos­si­ble widen­ing of SH1 at Tawa and a road through Takapu Val­ley.

Many sub­mit­ters ques­tioned the need for ex­tra road ca­pac­ity north of Tawa, say­ing a ma­jor in­ter­change would cre­ate traf­fic headaches.

Homes, sports fields and schools would be af­fected if the widen­ing pro­posal was favoured by the agency, many sub­mit­ters noted.

The re­port found no clear pref­er­ence for the widen­ing of SH1 or the Takapu Val­ley route.

The agency’s Wellington state high­ways man­ager, Rod James, said the feed­back showed the link was still broadly sup­ported by the re­gion.

‘‘We recog­nise that projects of this size have im­pacts . . .th­ese lo­cal per­spec­tives [from the pub­lic] will prove in­valu­able as we shape our plans,’’ he said.

Though some sub­mit­ters called for SH58 to be im­proved to four lanes – and noted the traf­fic vol­ume that was likely to in­crease when Trans­mis­sion Gully was con­nected to it by 2020 – James said safety up­grades were planned for the road no mat­ter what.

‘‘The Pe­tone to Gre­nada project is not con­sid­ered in iso­la­tion. Mak­ing SH58 safer is a vi­tal part of this pack­age [and] we are com­mit­ted to in­vest­ing to im­prove it.’’

Op­tions in­cluded ex­tend­ing the wire rope bar­rier, low­er­ing the speed limit and realign­ing the road, James said. Some work will start later this year and carry on through to 2018.

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said he was not sur­prised by the feed­back.

‘‘The re­gion needs a strong eastwest con­nec­tion and Porirua is sup­port­ive of this route,’’ he said.

The Pe­tone-Gre­nada link road is ex­pected to cost be­tween $ 250 mil­lion and $ 270m. A decision will be made by the agency later this year and con­struc­tion could start in 2019.

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