Plea by coun­cil for pro­posed­high­way


Fears are grow­ing that the pro­posed Pe­tone to Gre­nada high­way, north of Welling­ton, could be scrapped, prompt­ing pleas from civic lead­ers to save it.

Welling­ton City Coun­cil is urg­ing the Gov­ern­ment not to ditch plans for the high­way, which the coun­cil con­sid­ers a pri­or­ity project that is es­sen­tial to the re­silience of the city.

It is seek­ing an as­sur­ance that the high­way will go ahead.

The planned $270 mil­lion, four-lane road be­tween north­ern Welling­ton and Lower Hutt was sent back to the draw­ing board in De­cem­ber af­ter a re­view sug­gested it would be prone to land­slides and would cost more than was first thought.

Then in April, the Gov­ern­ment un­veiled its pri­or­i­ties for land trans­port, which in­cluded a huge in­vest­ment in road safety and rapid rail at the ex­pense of state high­way projects.

Con­cerns were raised that this would spell the end for the Pe­tone to Gre­nada high­way and the pro­posed Melling in­ter­change in Lower Hutt. Trans­port Min­is­ter Phil Twyford said then that those de­ci­sions would be made by the New Zealand Trans­port Agency.

The city coun­cil has since made a sub­mis­sion to the Gov­ern­ment, which in­cludes a fund­ing re­quest for the pro­posed Cross Val­ley link road be­tween Seav­iew and State High­way 2 in Lower Hutt.

Welling­ton’s re­silience plan­ning in­cludes hav­ing com­pleted the Pe­tone to Gre­nada high­way and other projects on State High­way 1 by 2043, to im­prove ac­cess to and from the city in case of an emer­gency, the sub­mis­sion says.

Welling­ton City coun­cil­lor Chris Calvi-Free­man, who holds the cap­i­tal’s trans­port port­fo­lio, told a coun­cil meet- ing last week that mo­tor­ways were a dou­ble-edged sword.

Hav­ing mul­ti­ple routes out of Welling­ton would be use­ful in the wake of a dev­as­tat­ing nat­u­ral dis­as­ter, but every time a mo­tor­way or im­proved ar­te­rial route was cre­ated, it en­cour­aged peo­ple to live and com­mute fur­ther out.

‘‘We have seen the ef­fects on the Ka¯piti ex­press­way with queu­ing and we will see fur­ther ef­fects more strongly when the Trans­mis­sion Gully mo­tor­way comes into place,’’ he said.

‘‘The time is now to move ahead and get ready for that ex­tra on­slaught of ex­tra ve­hi­cles.’’

The Pe­tone to Gre­nada high­way was im­por­tant to Welling­ton City be­cause it would re­lieve con­ges­tion and un­lock land for de­vel­op­ment at Lin­colnshire Farm, where there was the pos­si­bil­ity of ‘‘ex­treme’’ medium-den­sity hous­ing and an ex­press bus ser­vice.

Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wal­lace said his coun­cil had made a sim­i­lar sub­mis­sion.

An artist’s im­pres­sion of the pro­posed Pe­tone to Gre­nada high­way be­tween north­ern Welling­ton and Lower Hutt, show­ing the Pe­tone in­ter­change and a large cut into the lo­cal hill­side. Welling­ton City Coun­cil now fears the Gov­ern­ment may ditch the road­ing project.

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