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Severe congestion key Wellington transport issue

Wellington Regional Office
Media Release

30 June 2004

Severe congestion key Wellington transport issue

Easing congestion on state highways in Wellington is a key aim of a number of projects in Transit New Zealand’s 10-Year State Highway Plan for the region, released today.

Construction will begin on the Inner City Bypass and MacKays Crossing Overbridge projects in the first half of the 2004/05 financial year and work will continue on the Plimmerton to Mana Upgrade already underway.

“The bypass will provide a safer and more efficient route to Wellington hospital, Wellington airport and southern and northern suburbs,” Transit regional manager Brian Hasell said.

“The bypass is part of an integrated package of initiatives including improved passenger transport, travel demand management measures and additional walking and cycling facilities, involving Transit, Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council.”

Transit also proposes several improvements to address congestion on SH2 between the Hutt Valley and Ngauranga, with the $53 million Dowse to Petone Interchange project scheduled for a construction start in 2005/06. The $14.4 million Kaitoke Realignment in Upper Hutt is already underway. Other proposed projects for this highway that are currently outside the 10-year plan include the Melling Interchange, the SH2/SH58 Hayward interchange and a reversible auxiliary lane between Ngauranga and Petone.

Stage one of the Kapiti Western Link Road is also included in the 10-year plan, with an estimated construction start date of 2007/08, he said.

“This is a joint project with Kapiti Coast District Council to build a parallel route to SH1 between Peka Peka, north of Waikanae, and Poplar Avenue at Raumati to free up congestion on both the state highway and local roads,” Mr Hasell said.

Transit’s plan includes at least $244 million for new state highway projects and at least $197 million for maintenance in the Wellington region in the next 10 years. In 2004/05, $35 million will be spent on new projects and $22 million on maintenance.

“Some of the projects outlined in the plan may be built faster and others added with additional funding we anticipate from a share of the regional distribution funding resulting from the Government’s December 2003 funding package, ‘Investing in Growth’ raised through an increase in petrol tax,” Mr Hasell said.

Large projects (construction cost over $3 million) have been planned for 10 years and small and medium-sized projects have been planned for three years. Consultation played an important role in the development of the plan within the context of the new Land Transport Management Act (passed in November 2003), Mr Hasell said, with all large project proposals reviewed to ensure integrated solutions that fitted with the Wellington region’s local authority plans and that the benefits of the plans were sustainable.
Other areas to be covered by the 10-year plan in the Wellington region include removing roadside hazards and improving walking and cycling facilities.
Major features of the plan are:

• Dowse to Petone Upgrade on SH2, including a new interchange at Dowse Drive and overbridge at Korokoro, for a construction start in 2005/06
• Kapiti Western Link Road (Stage 1), for a construction start in 2006/07, as a joint project with the Kapiti Coast District Council
• curve easing at Muldoons Corner on the Rimutaka Hill Road on SH2, for a construction start in 2006/07
• expansion of the Active Traffic Management System currently in operation in the Ngauranga Gorge to give better service to road users on other sections of SH1 and SH2.

Other projects in the 10-year plan for construction over the next three years are:

• Waiohine Bridge Replacement on SH2, north of Greytown
• Te Marua Curves Realignment on SH2, north of Upper Hutt
• improvements to the Kent Terrace/Ellice Street intersection at the Basin Reserve
• intersection improvements at Old Hautere Road on SH1
• street lighting between Petone and Ngauranga on SH2
• cycling and walking facilities in Kapiti on SH1, Masterton on SH2 and Petone to Horokiwi on SH2.

…ends/

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