Labour backs Up­per Hutt dou­ble track

Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE - MATTHEWTSO

‘‘If we are se­ri­ous about be­ing a tech hub, this in­fras­truc­ture is go­ing to be re­ally important.’’

Labour will back a num­ber of Hutt Val­ley trans­port projects in­clud­ing the long awaited Cross Val­ley Link and dou­ble track­ing the rail lines be­tween Tren­tham and Up­per Hutt should it win Septem­ber’s elec­tion.

The link, which would con­nect Wainuiomata and Seav­iew with State High­way 2, has been a talk­ing point for more than 50 years and would al­le­vi­ate traf­fic con­ges­tion along the Pe­tone Es­planade and Jack­son St.

Other projects pri­ori­tised in Labour’s trans­port pol­icy an­nounce­ment last week in­clude the the dou­ble track­ing pro­posal, im­prove­ments to State High­way 58, the Pe­tone-Gre­nada Link and work­ing with coun­cils to in­stall cy­cle and walk­ing in­fras­truc­ture.

Labour’s Hutt South can­di­date Ginny An­der­sen said the Cross Val­ley Link, in con­junc­tion with other trans­port projects and in­fras­truc­ture, was ‘‘es­sen­tial’’ to the fu­ture growth of the Hutt.

The link would vastly im­prove move­ment to and from the large in­dus­trial area around Seav­iew while other projects would make get­ting to and from the Hutt much eas­ier.

‘‘If we are se­ri­ous about be­ing a tech hub, this in­fras­truc­ture is go­ing to be re­ally important.’’

With traf­fic us­ing the Cross Val­ley Link, An­der­sen said the water­front and Jack­son St would be more pedes­trian friendly, al­low­ing busi­nesses there to thrive.

‘‘When I go and talk to shop own­ers, they of­ten com­plain about the dirt and grit pro­duced by the traf­fic. It’s not nice sit­ting out­side and eat­ing with the traf­fic.’’

It was important the right bal­ance of road, pub­lic trans­port, and walk­ing and cy­cle in­fras­truc­ture was found.

Na­tional MP and Hutt South can­di­date Chris Bishop agreed projects such as the Pe­toneGre­nada and Cross Val­ley links were ‘‘vi­tal’’ to the Hutt and were al­ready close to get­ting un­der way, as was the dou­ble track­ing project be­tween Up­per Hutt and Tren­tham, and more walk­ing and cycling in­fras­truc­ture.

‘‘A lot of this is hap­pen­ing al­ready. Pe­tone-Gre­nada is hap­pen­ing, the Cross Val­ley Link is go­ing to hap­pen. [Labour is] en­dors­ing what [Na­tional] is al­ready do­ing.’’

Be­cause the Cross Val­ley Link was not a road of na­tional sig­nif­i­cance, it would have to be com­pleted in con­junc­tion with the na­tion­ally important Pe­toneGre­nada Link.

Hutt City Coun­cil city in­fras­truc­ture gen­eral man­ager Bruce Sher­lock was not fa­mil­iar with Labour’s an­nounce­ment but said the coun­cil would likely be sup­port­ive of the Cross Val­ley Link.

A busi­ness case had been sub­mit­ted to the New Zealand Trans­port Agency and about $65 mil­lion had been bud­geted for the link for some time. An NZTA sub­sidy was needed to make the road a re­al­ity, he said.

As well as re­duc­ing con­ges­tion on the Es­planade com­ing from the Seav­iew-Grace­field in­dus­trial area, the road would also be less sus­cep­ti­ble to nat­u­ral dis­as­ters such as earth­quakes, tsunamis and liq­ue­fac­tion.

PHOTO: SI­MON ED­WARDS

A new Cross Val­ley Link would re­duce the traf­fic from the Seav­iew/Grace­field in­dus­trial hub us­ing Pe­tone Es­planade and Jack­son St to get to the high­way net­work. Hutt South Labour can­di­date Ginny An­der­sen

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