On 14th April 2015, the Wellington City Council voted a strong (11/4) position on the Petone to Grenada Road proposal, and the last minute additions of either widening SH1 past Tawa (option C), or a new road through Takapu Valley (option D).
Their decision was to SUPPORT the Petone to Grenada Link Road proposal (which will be the largest road building exercise in Wellington City for decades), but NOT SUPPORT the last minute additions.
Clearly the case for Option C and Option D doesn’t exist. Especially with the Takapu Valley Road option, where more scrutiny simply uncovers more environmental and social damage, that doesn’t equate with the small benefits claimed by NZTA. Also, NZTA’s & OPUS’s own traffic modelling says volumes past Tawa will be fine until at least 2030. There are also serious concerns about NZTA’s analysis errors that mistakenly promoted the worst option (D) into first place.
It’s also becoming clear the massive interchange being designed at Tawa will be a huge weak link, and likely create its own congestion, which is becoming a concern with observers. Councillors were concerned about this, and are strongly recommending that the P2G junction with SH1 should occur further south towards Churton Park.
Most people should be happy with this, as it’s a positive step to get on and build the Road aimed at removing congestion from Ngauranga Gorge.
Of course there will be misguided detractors – the Wellington Employers Chamber made a hash of a press release yesterday, but it mostly shows they don’t get the decision at all, as most of the commenters point out. Some go further to suggest that John Milford was merely doing a favour for his predecessor Raewyn Bleakley – who is now the NZTA staffer responsible for the project. Which if true wouldn’t surprise onlookers, as the behaviour of NZTA in Wellington has been very questionable of late – and heavily criticised by the Hon. Peter Dunne
Throughout the marathon council deliberations it became clear that Councillors had been fed a very one sided officials paper that talked only about traffic volumes and infrastructure details, without mention of the huge impacts amassing, especially with option D Takapu. Several Councillors chastised the poor quality. It left councillors to have to research out the facts for themselves. We’re very grateful that they did.