Hutt City Council has been working on a more resilient, higher capacity, multi-use east-to-west connection for many years. We believe the current route along The Esplanade is not providing the required level of service and will continue to underperform into the future.
In 2016 we created the Petone Esplanade Strategic Case which identified that there was an opportunity to improve the overall social, economic and transport outcomes for Lower Hutt by exploring a new approach to roads in Petone. The report identified that there was growing realisation that maintaining a “do nothing” approach would be unsustainable in the future.
The Cross Valley Transport Connections (previously known, in part, as the Cross Valley Link) intends to divert through-traffic away from the Petone foreshore with a better connection between SH2 and Seaview/Gracefield, Petone parts of Lower Hutt, Eastern Bays and Wainuiomata.
The Esplanade sits in a strategically valuable location. A location which sees it fulfil two distinct functions. On the one hand, The Esplanade is a major arterial route, with over 25,000 vehicles a day using it. In this capacity, it provides an essential ‘link’ between Lower Hutt’s southern areas and the rest of New Zealand. On the other hand, by spanning the waterfront, The Esplanade has an immense impact on Petone foreshore’s value and potential as a place to visit and enjoy.
Currently travel times along The Esplanade are unpredictable. NZTA’s travel time surveys showed that there is a low average speed when travelling during peak and that it includes a number of stops and starts. This transport performance negatively impacts the Petone Foreshore and is considered to be detrimental for Petone.
Also, in Lower Hutt, there are eight transport projects being investigated, all within a 15km radius of the Petone Foreshore. These projects, such as the Melling Interchange and Petone to Grenada (P2G) Link Road (if progressed as the preferred solution), would directly influence the movement of transporting goods and people across the Hutt Valley, including along The Esplanade.
Lower Hutt and the wider Wellington region would be better prepared for large earthquakes, and for the long-term effects of climate change (e.g. sea level rise).
Preparing will help to mitigate the negative economic impacts, improve people’s access to lifeline services, and reduce the likely social costs that will result from long-term isolation from friends and family.
Lower Hutt would be better prepared for crashes, road accidents (spills) and construction works.
There will be improved travel time reliability on the key arterial roads for buses, heavy commercial vehicles and general traffic which is likely to further support economic development in Lower Hutt, and encourage increased use of bus services.
There will be more transport choices including the reduction of travel obstacles that some people may experience.
There will be improved walking, cycling facilities and micro-mobility access improvements at the Petone, Ava and Woburn Train Stations and connections to and from the Te Ara Tupua Walking and Cycling Project.
Where to next?
The project is in the final stages of the Programme Business Case, part of the business case approach required by NZTA to receive funding assistance. The next steps are a single stage business case and then detailed design work (which ultimately sets out the alignment of the route etc).
The exact timing of the next steps is subject to future funding decision making processes, including those to be made through the future HCC’s long-term plans, GWRC’s regional land transport plans, and NZTA’s national land transport plans.
For more information on this project you can download the:
John Gloag, Head of Transport
T: 04 570 6856