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 –