Eastern Hutt Road Slips and Road Changes

Latest update: Wednesday 10 August

Heavy rain on Thursday 21 July 2022 caused two large landslips onto the Eastern Hutt Road near the entrance to Stokes Valley, affecting the southbound lanes from Stokes Valley towards Lower Hutt, and the properties directly above the landslips.

  • Thursday 21 July – Council staff, contractors and emergency services worked through the night closing and securing the road for public safety and working to evacuate the affected properties.
  • Friday 22 July – Council staff were able to open the Northbound lane of Eastern Hutt Road to allow travel from Lower Hutt towards Stokes Valley.
  • Saturday 23 & Sunday 24 July – Council staff and contractors worked through the weekend to convert the northbound lanes to enable two-way travel, completing this in time for Monday morning school and commuter travel.

On Thursday 4 August  we hosted a community meeting at the Koraunui Stokes Valley Community Hub to provide an update on the work we have been doing and to hear from our residents. A recording of the meeting can be viewed below

(Note: captions for this video can be viewed by clicking on 'CC/Subtitles' icon in the bottom right corner of the video)

Transport

Council staff and contractors are working on long term solutions for the road and affected hillside. To ensure safety of motorists and homeowners in the meantime, we have made changes to road layouts, which will need to be in place for the next few months. Hutt City Council appreciates the patience of residents as we continue to review the layout and make tweaks to try and improve traffic flows.

Temporary traffic changes on Eastern Hutt Road

The southbound lanes from Stokes Valley towards Lower Hutt are closed and the northbound lanes from Lower Hutt to Stokes Valley have been converted to allow two-way traffic.

A temporary speed limit of 50km/h is in place on the straight section north of the Stokes Valley roundabout, slowing to with 30km/hr in the section of the road around the slips. These temporary speed limit changes have been implemented to increase safety, improve the flow of traffic and ease bottlenecks.

Eastern Hutt Road Map

To help manage traffic flow when leaving Stokes Valley, we’re introducing temporary traffic lights on Stokes Valley Road near Caltex and on the approach from Upper Hutt to the Eastern Hutt Road. This will ease the delays for vehicles coming from Stokes Valley and Wagon Roads. The lights on Stokes Valley roundabout will be operational from 7:30am to 9am, Monday to Friday, and the lights on Stokes Valley Road will be operational from 8am - 9am, Monday to Friday.

SV Roundabout Layout Detail

Homes

The landslips created significant danger for the residents living directly above them and two properties on Holborn Road have been evacuated. Due to the damage and on-going safety concerns Hutt City Council issued Dangerous Building Notices. Homeowners for the two affected homes are allowed to return to pick up possessions for short supervised periods. Council is working with these families to provide support.

There is an ongoing risk of further landslips. We are in close contact with the homeowners and EQC. Due to the location of the landslips, we must consider the risk of slips to traffic, contractors working in the road corridor and the homes above the landslips.

On Friday 29 July we received the geotechnical reports on the area of land above Eastern Hutt Road (road reserve which HCC owns). The temporary options recommended by the reports are in place, i.e. welded containers along the toe of the slope.
The permanent solution could include installation of a catch fence along Eastern Hutt Road. A decision to do this will be informed by any plans the homeowners put in place from their engineering assessments. EQC advises that these will be available in a matter of weeks, not months.

The permanent solution is going to be looked at as a priority and there has already been a meeting on site with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency on this. Community safety and wellbeing is Council’s top priority, alongside repairing the slip as soon as we can and restoring Eastern Hutt Rd back to full capacity.


Questions and Answers

We will be adding to the Questions and Answers from the Community Meeting in the next few days. If you have submitted a question and don’t see an answer here, please contact us at ehrupdate@huttcity.govt.nz

Transport

Contractors have put concrete-filled containers between the road and the slips to act as a barrier. These containers occupy the inner southbound lane.
As a safety precaution, the outer southbound lane and concrete filled barrier create a necessary barrier between containers and traffic in case of further landslips, rockfall and other materials falling such as uprooted trees, timber, etc.

Some Stokes Valley residents have experienced an increased travel delay of between 1 – 2 hours during peak times.

New road layouts are in place at Stokes Valley roundabout and the Eastern Hutt Road / High Street roundabout

Stokes Valley roundabout

Eastern Hutt RD/Hight St

To help manage traffic flow when leaving Stokes Valley, we’re introducing temporary traffic lights on Stokes Valley Road near Caltex and on the approach from Upper Hutt to the Eastern Hutt Road. This will ease the delays for vehicles coming from Stokes Valley and Wagon Roads. The lights will be operational from 6am to 10am, Monday to Friday.

We have also introduced a give-way sign near the Caltex station on Stokes Valley Rd. This will mean drivers coming from Wagon Rd will now need to give way to traffic on Stokes Valley Rd instead of merging, which will help to ease delays in the area.

SV Roundabout Layout Detail

We have been promoting directing Upper Hutt traffic to SH2 in our messaging, as well as Waka Kotahi messaging. Council service providers including Waste Management are using SH2 for all travel.

We are considering installing electronic signage to show travel times from Stokes Valley to key destinations as part of a permanent solution. We are also looking at installing cameras to provide a live feed to our website which members of the public can check.

The traffic changes we are making will improve the flow of traffic and reduce travel times. We will continue to monitor travel times and assess the feasibility of public transport connections with Metlink.

We are currently investigating a safer crossing point for cyclists and pedestrians wanting to connect to the Hutt River trail.

As part of the consent process, we undertake a traffic assessment on all major developments. Initial plans are also underway to look at a walking and cycling connection from the Stokes Valley shops to the Hutt River trail.

All options will be considered when we look at permanent options to manage traffic flow.

We will know more once we receive detailed geotechnical advice provided by the homeowners’ representatives and EQC, which we expect soon. Once we understand the full impact and risk of further slips, we can determine how to repair them. We will issue further updates when they become available.

We are aware that the traffic delays are affecting children arriving at school on time. We are providing the latest updates to local schools and we will continue to follow up directly with them.

There is not enough room to create a bus-only lane in the temporary layouts to give priority to school and other buses. Doing so would create further disruption for all vehicles.

The changes that will be implemented to improve traffic flows, i.e. the new traffic lights, will lessen the delays for school buses along with all other traffic.

The normal rules apply to the roundabout. Traffic entering the roundabout must give way to traffic already in the roundabout, even if the traffic light is green.

We have been monitoring traffic flows and have made adjustments to the timing of the traffic lights on Stokes Valley roundabout to give more priority to traffic leaving Stokes Valley.

The operating times for the lights are as follows:
*Stokes Valley roundabout: 7:30 – 9am, Monday – Friday
*Stokes Valley Road: 8 – 9am, Monday to Friday

We are continuing to monitor the situation and will make further changes if necessary.

We have carefully considered this alongside other options. The roading layout currently in place is the safest given the current risks and the need to keep a lane open for travel in the other direction.

After meeting with staff from the Caltex station we made adjustments to the initial road layout, which included moving the Give Way sign further back on Wagon Road and removing some of the temporary barriers to allow more room for traffic from Stokes Valley Road to merge into the right-hand lane to gain access the Caltex station. We are continuing to monitor traffic flows with the temporary road layout and will decide on any adjustments needed to improve flow and/or safety.

We are continuing to monitor traffic flows with the temporary road layout, including on Stokes Valley Road. Any interventions put in place are likely to create further disruptions, so we are unlikely to make changes to the road layout. We appreciate drivers being courteous and allowing space for other road users to merge and join from side roads.

Building another bridge across Te Awa Kairangi in this area would not be practical given the close proximity to the Silverstream Road Bridge (approximately 3 km from Stokes Valley Roundabout).

Homes

The landslips created significant danger for the residents living directly above them and two properties on Holborn Road have been evacuated. Due to the damage and on-going safety concerns Hutt City Council issued Dangerous Building Notices. Homeowners for the two affected homes are allowed to return to pick up possessions for short supervised periods. Council is working with these families to provide support.

Not that we are aware of. We have been in touch with property owners who are close to the slips.

Traffic assessments are required for all major developments, not for every individual consent application. Traffic assessments were undertaken on Raukawa Street for all major development consent applications, and the assessments indicated no concern regarding traffic flow capacity constraints.
It should be noted that following the Central Government’s direction and amendments to the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), the car park provision is not a requirement for consenting applications anymore, unless the development in a section or in a given area, the dwellings / units exceed more than 60 units.

Eastern Hutt Road Retaining Wall

The Eastern Hutt Road Retaining Wall Strengthening project is a resilience project that aims to strengthen the retaining walls below the Eastern Hutt Road, north of the Stokes Valley roundabout. The project was not successful in attaining funding through the 2021–24 Waka Kotahi National Land Transport Programme, as resilience projects were not prioritised.
No planning work has been done or decisions made on the section south of the Stokes Valley roundabout where the slips have occurred.
Officers are working with Waka Kotahi to discuss expanding the scope of the Eastern Hutt Retaining Wall Strengthening project to include the areas north and south of the roundabout which includes the area where the slips are.

EHR Retaining Wall Strengthening Project

General

At the Koraunui Stokes Valley Community Hub we are providing space that will be available for the community to work remotely, providing reliable free WIFI in a warm and dry environment.

Hutt City Council appreciates the patience of residents as we continue to review the layout and make tweaks to try and improve traffic flow.

Our staff and contractors are working on solutions to the challenges caused by the landslips. There is an ongoing risk of further landslips. We are in close contact with the homeowners and EQC. Due to the location of the landslips, we must consider the risk of slips to traffic, contractors working in the road corridor and the homes above the landslips.

We are working in tandem with the homeowners’ engineers on assessing the risks. As engineering assessments are completed this will assist us to make decisions on the Eastern Hutt Road.
We expect the changes to road layouts will need to be in place for the next few months, but this will depend on the information received in relation to the affected houses.


Want to be notified when updates are available regarding Eastern Hutt Road?

Please send your name, email address, mobile number and mailing address to ehrupdate@huttcity.govt.nz to join our distribution list and receive updates.

We collect your details so that we can send you updates relating to the Eastern Hutt Road slip (these are most likely to come via email but could be through other forms of contact should you wish to provide further details). Providing this information is optional. If you choose not to provide your details, we'll be unable to notify you that an update is available. You can also go to hutt.city/EHRupdate or visit the Koraunui Stokes Valley Community Hub for updates. You have the right to ask for a copy of any personal information we hold about you, and to ask for it to be corrected if you think it is wrong. If you’d like to ask for a copy of your information, or to have it corrected, please contact us at 04 570 6666, contact@huttcity.govt.nz or come in and see us at 30 Laings Road, Lower Hutt.