Read­ers re­call early days of State High­way 1


We thought this photo of our na­tional high­way might stump some peo­ple. How­ever, mem­o­ries and in­for­ma­tion about it flooded in af­ter we posted it on Face­book.

The photo was taken on Fe­bru­ary 1, 1980, and looks north show­ing the south­bound lanes of State High­way 1 be­low Gear Home­stead near­ing com­ple­tion.

The sec­tion of road opened shortly af­ter this photo was taken.

Af­ter sev­eral close calls and ac­ci­dents for peo­ple not giv­ing way at Whit­ford Brown Ave, traf­fic lights were in­stalled in 1981, de­spite the chief traf­fic of­fi­cer for Porirua say­ing they were not needed.

The State High­way work was a Min­istry of Works project. Con­struc­tion con­tin­ued for sev­eral months fol­low­ing the open­ing so Whit­ford Brown Ave could be prop­erly linked to the ex­ist­ing high­way.

Ruth Bar­rett, the her­itage li­brar­ian at Porirua Li­brary, said the project was com­pleted to cope with the ex­pected in­flux of peo­ple to Porirua fol­low­ing hous­ing dev- el­op­ments and the ex­pan­sion of the city cen­tre.

She said that at the time, Porirua’s pop­u­la­tion was grow­ing rapidly. How­ever, most didn’t have cars and re­lied on pub­lic trans­port.

Main sec­tions of the high­way past Porirua were not com­pleted un­til af­ter the Mun­gavin In­ter­change was built in 1989.

Af­ter that, an­other high­way ex­ten­sion was fin­ished in 1993, once the off ramp over Porirua Stream and on to Paru­moana St was built.

State High­way 1 is today the main road be­tween Welling­ton and Auck­land. An av­er­age of 52,000 ve­hi­cles use the sec­tion pass­ing Porirua each day.

Once Trans­mis­sion Gully is com­pleted in 2020, that num­ber will re­duce by about 27 per cent ac­cord­ing to NZ Trans­port Agency.

Trans­mis­sion Gully will be a quicker and more re­li­able route, about 27km in length, and will


by­pass ex­ist­ing traf­fic bot­tle­necks along the SH1 coastal route.

What other read­ers re­call: Jo Ann MacDon­ald –

"It was a pain go­ing around the la­goons on leav­ing Porirua. Part of the road still ex­ists down by Aotea.’’

"I re­mem­ber they did this in the mid-70s, when I was a kid. Be­fore they put the mo­tor­way through we went around the two la­goons along Pa­pakowhai Rd and Pare­mata Cres that used to be SH1.’’

Adam MacDowall –

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