We were wondering what Transmission Gully Road would do to Wellington traffic flows once completed? Transmission Gully will shift the main Wellington northern corridor east, bissecting SH58 at Judgeford. What would this mean if you were a truck heading north from Wellington? Save for a few traffic lights on SH2, your route is clearly much better via SH2 and SH58 for fuel economy and wear and tear (see blue line below). So why are NZTA saying they need to invest $50-150m on extra capacity between Tawa and Porirua (SH1 widening or bulldozing rural Takapu Valley to make a ridiculous short parallel motorway), when for much less money they could remove traffic lights and fix a few bad corners on SH58?
Transmission Gully changes to traffic flows SH1 vs SH2 north from Wellington
These sudden proposals (options C and D) have arrived without Council knowledge and have totally circumvented the regional and district planning process. It’s clear to see that they’re being rushed through with haste by NZTA with no regard to wider regional needs. We say build Transmission Gully, and build Petone to Grenada Road if necessary, but wait to see what will happen before destroying communities and a whole rural valley.
NZTA tell us traffic volumes are going to miraculously skyrocket after Transmission Gully sending much more traffic past Tawa. We find this incredibly hard to imagine given traffic volumes have been dropping in Wellington, and when this elevation infographic diagram above suggests that Hutt Traffic (and possibly much Wellington Traffic) will prefer SH2/SH58 (over SH1 past Tawa) to Levin and beyond, further reducing flows.
Overall, this adhoc major infrastructure building by NZTA in road project silos is not serving the Wellington Region well. All these roads need to be put through a proper established strategic planning framework.
We’re fast developing an appreciation for how NZTA work. They’re running roughshod through communities and have unleashed a strategy to divide and conquer locals via Option C (widening existing SH1 motorway), or Option D (Takapu Motorway), and giving people 6 weeks consultation to fight major plans, that have no public planning, from a cold start. It’s unfair, unjust and unethical! Peter Dunne MP has alluded to this last night.
We’re slowly uncovering considerable incompetence by NZTA (such as watching WCC grant consent for a whole subdivision soon to be bulldozed – that could cost WCC ratepayers dearly I’d think), and an intrinsic culture of lies and deceit to the public and landowners. We’ll be documenting this more, one action with possible criminal implications. Not to mention the unethical and immoral strategy of playing neighbours and communities off against each other to do their work. Questions need to be asked of this Government Department and it’s Chief Executive that condones such behaviour, paid for by the tax payer. Peter Dunne is right to be concerned by this behaviour.
Ōhariu MP Peter Dunne is calling on NZTA to drop altogether proposals for a link road between the Transmission Gully Highway and the planned Petone to Grenada road “until it gets its act together.”
Mr Dunne says NZTA’s handling of the link road plan which emerged only three weeks ago has been a “public relations and planning disaster from the outset.”
“I think the plan is now doomed because of its own incompetence, and the sooner it is dropped altogether, the better.
“First off, was the announcement that the preferred option was to slice a link road through Takapu Valley, understandably angering the 80 odd residents who live there, and who had no idea that was being considered.
“Then, NZTA refused to front angry residents at a site meeting, saying it was not ready to talk to them yet, and would prefer to do so on a one-on-one basis anyway.
“Next was the announcement that if they could not proceed with the Takapu Valley option, NZTA would callously play communities off against each other by widening State Highway One by Tawa instead, affecting about 40 properties.
“That brinkmanship is simply disgraceful.
“Now comes this week’s news that people buying sections in a new subdivision at the top of Grenada Village find the proposed road cuts right through the land they are in the process of buying.
“NZTA was even not aware of that until I raised it with them earlier this week.
“These are inept blunderbuss tactics of the worst type – despite its assurances to me personally and in public, NZTA seems to have no comprehension of, or concern about the impact of its cavalier announcements on local resident who stand to be seriously adversely affected.
“In the circumstances, NZTA’s only credible option is to can the plan now, go back to its drawing board, and work with the local community, the Tawa Community Board, and the Wellington City Council on the best way forward,” Mr Dunne says.
Peter Dunne stands up on the appalling behaviour of NZTA on Twitter | 1 Feb 2014
Ōhariu MP Peter Dunne is seeking a full briefing from NZTA on its roading plans that are likely have an impact on Takapu Valley residents.
Mr Dunne says he first became aware of the specific proposals yesterday, and shares the concern being expressed by Takapu valley residents.
“Proposals like this which come like a bolt from the blue are understandably very disruptive of people’s lives and need to be handled with sensitivity, something government agencies are often not very good at”.
“However, it is not entirely clear how firm the plans are, which is why I want a full and urgent briefing from NZTA”.
“In particular, I want to know:
The actual status of the proposals currently being reported;
How, if at all, this proposal is linked to the development of the Transmission Gully highway;
The current status of the Petone to Grenada link road proposals;
The time frame for and projected cost of the construction of any link road through Takapu Valley;
The process and time frames for reaching any decision on the proposal;
What alternatives and other options might be considered;
MAP DETAILS LAST MINUTE CHANGE OF PLAN TO TRANSMISSION GULLY ROUTE – LOCALS DISCOVER
Takapu Valley residents have uncovered a last minute plan by Wellington City Council and the New Zealand Transport Authority, to ‘throw Porirua City and Hutt City under the bus’ with 11th hour Transmission Gully plan changes that will see the motorway diverted straight through the Takapu Valley community, with minimal time for consultation or appeal.
Takapu Valley residents found out last week that NZTA have plans to build a new motorway through many homes and farms, to link Grenada North to Transmission Gully bypassing traffic around Porirua.
“The Wellington City Council is blindsiding the community, by attempting to take the freight and warehousing industry from Hutt City by stealth with major implications for businesses, industry and livelihoods in the Hutt Valley.” said Richard Brown, spokesperson for concerned Takapu Valley locals.
Takapu residents discovered the 11th hour change of plan when New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) officials apparently accidentally left a map which illustrates the change of plans, while visiting a resident.
Further research has uncovered an unusual agreement signed between the Wellington Mayor and NZTA on 20 Dec 2013, just before Christmas last year, explicitly stating the goal to:
Once the Petone to Grenada North road is finished, by linking Grenada North to Transmission Gully via the proposed Takapu Valley motorway, Wellington City will have the space, location and link to develop Grenada North into the new logistics hub. This sudden new Takapu Valley motorway we’ve discovered is key to making it happen. “It will bleed Hutt City dry of businesses and rates if WCC gets its way with this proposal” said Mr Brown, “I’d be worried if I was the Hutt City Mayor”.
“No wonder there are so many closed door last minute meetings. It’s a sudden last minute move to announce bulldozing of Takapu Valley. This is a killer move by the Wellington Mayor, a total blind-siding of her neighbouring councils,” said Mr Brown.
“The new Grenada to Transmission Gully road (Takapu Valley) has suddenly appeared overnight despite Transmission Gully planning of 20 years; its secretive, it’s weird and looks like it’s extremely rushed to approve it before the election.”
Locals are understandably concerned that a major new road appears in no public planning or strategy documents and is now being rushed through urgently. “They’re restarting their plans that were stopped by commonsense in 1990 by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Helen Hughes; they’re being underhand” said Mr Brown.
“So, what are they really up to?” asked Mr Brown, “It looks like Wellington City Council has done a quick and dirty deal to ram a new motorway through Takapu Valley in order to take Hutt City business and rates. We suspect the transport lobby is behind this as well”.
PORIRUA CITY WON’T FARE MUCH BETTER THAN HUTT CITY
“The suddenly proposed Takapu Valley motorway will cut the Porirua City off from Transmission Gully traffic flow, option D on the secret map clearly shows this. NZTA have said is their preferred option”. “Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett would have to be very concerned; it’s something Porirua Mayors have fought against for at least 20 years.”
WELLINGTON SUPER CITY NEEDED NOW
“It looks like Wellington City Council could be stealing from the Hutt and Porirua Councils, for their own ends. Clearly Wellington Region urgently needs a super city council to put an end to this madness – that’s the only conclusion we can make from the evidence available”
Takapu Valley residents are upset and angry about the lack of consultation with them, the community who will be directly affected by such a change of plan. They’re also angry that they’re being pitted against Tawa Residents who could lose their homes in option C. “We feel for them too”.
Transmission Gully was planned and consulted over 20 years. Grenada to Transmission Gully (Takapu valley) will have a mere 6 weeks consultation period with an urgent decision timetabled before the general election.
There is no reference to the new Grenada to Transmission Gully road (Takapu Valley) in any planning document publicly available. Why is such a large roading project invisible to the public and being created suddenly without strategic planning?
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) Helen Hughes’ Report into Transmission Gully recommended that Takapu Valley be saved from roading, hence recommending the current Linden/Kenepuru start to TG.
Following the PCE report, the Greater Wellington Regional Council (WRC at the time) Report further recommended protection from Transmission Gully for Takapu Valley for environmental and social reasons, recommending the current Linden/Kenepuru start to TG.
The Transmission Gully start was moved to Linden because of these reports, NZTA are now looking to build both, with no recourse to previous reports.