Brash happy to reach the beginning of the road
Jenny Brash wasn’t going to let a pesky knee operation keep her from enjoying the moment.
The former Porirua mayor – and current regional councillor – was among those that saw the historic turning of the sod to mark the official beginning of construction of Transmission Gully on September 8.
Brash, was one of a group who campaigned hard for the inland route in the 1990s and 2000s. He said the sunny day was apt.
The fact that she had a major knee operation five weeks ago was not going to prevent her attending.
‘‘I was glad it was a nice day and the ground was flat for me,’’ she said.
‘‘It was a great occasion, a long time coming.
‘‘It is close to an election, so there were plenty of politicians, but it was just so good to have all the others there who fought so hard for this.
‘‘Margaret [Shields, who died last year] would have been smiling down.’’
Brash said despite some comments from certain political parties, Transmission Gully was the right choice for the region.
‘‘It’s all go now; you won’t be able to wind this back.
‘‘The safeguards are there to protect the environment, which is what our communities wanted.’’
The 27km highway, to be completed in 2020, is the first state highway to be built as part of a public private partnership.
The Wellington Gateway Partnership won the contract to build Transmission Gully.
NZ Transport Agency deputy chairwoman Dame Patsy Reddy said thousands of vehicles a day will be diverted from places like Pukerua Bay, Mana and Plimmerton now.
‘‘This means those communities can start to look ahead to creating more liveable environments, and safer, user-friendly facilities for pedestrians and cyclists,’’ she said.
Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said Transmission Gully reflected the region’s ambitions for growth and prosperity in the 21st century.
‘‘We must also make ourselves more resilient in the event of a natural disaster,’’ he said.
‘‘This road opens our region up to the lower North Island and gives us another connection in and out of our region.
‘‘It’s been a long time coming, but we are finally here.’’
Historic day: From left, former Porirua mayor Jenny Brash, Porirua City Council chief executive Gary Simpson, city councillor Tim Sheppard, mayor Nick Leggett, Ngati Toa kaumatua Taku Parai and Mana MP Kris Faafoi at the Transmission Gully sod turning.