Transport & Infrastructure
This is an area consistently identified by the business community as a major inhibitor to business efficiency and a constant source of frustration and increasing costs
Transport continues to be a major headache for the business community.
Public transport is less trusted during heightened COVID-19 alert levels. While people are increasingly working from home at least for some of the working week, capacity issues continue to cause major congestion and an increasingly unreliable transport network. This is the case for both roading and public transport.
As the population rises rapidly, local transport infrastructure is increasingly inadequate for business operations. Investments such as RiverLink, Cross Valley Link and Petone to Grenada (or similar) are all key roading projects that the Chamber will advocate for in 2021. This focus area also includes advocating for new areas in both cities for businesses to locate and expand their operations.
Transmission Gully is currently scheduled to open in September 2021 and is expected to have a major impact on parts of the network. It is expected that the traffic coming off Transmission Gully and heading for the Hutt Valley will choose the SH58 exit. While there are major upgrades underway on this road, these are largely just safety improvements and do not double-lane it.
Traffic problems will continue for several years past the opening of Transmission Gully. Traffic analysis reports predict a 30% increase in traffic on SH58 once Transmission Gully opens, but this assumption was based on Petone to Grenada being open which is not even at the planning stage. These projections also do not factor in the rapid population growth in the whole region.
The two new roundabouts planned are single lane and are likely to be under construction after the completion of Transmission Gully.
Already land use on and around SH58 is changing, with more development and subdivision in the wings. Plimmerton Farm is also expected to add 3000 households to the Porirua area, some of whom will want regular access to the Hutt Valley.
This is an increasingly urgent issue for business movement around the region and is expected to cause new levels of congestion at different choke points throughout the valley. Areas directly impacted are likely to be:
- River Road
- Kennedy Good bridge
- Access to Seaview, Gracefield from Kennedy Good Bridge
- SH2 north and south of Haywards interchange
The new cycleways do offer some minor tourism and recreational-related business opportunities.
The Riverlink project is at least a six-year Lower Hutt CBD, Hutt Valley transport and flood protection project of a scale not seen in the Hutt Valley for decades. It is seen as a “once in a lifetime opportunity to shape Lower Hutt City”, however it impacts the entire valley and region. Budgeted for $445 million it is currently planned for a 2026 completion and includes:
- New SH2 interchange at Melling
- New Melling Bridge
- New road layout within Lower Hutt CBD
- Lower Hutt CBD transformation
- Increased demand for apartment and inner-city Lower Hutt living
- Brings Upper Hutt closer to Lower Hutt and Wellington CBD (quick access through SH2)
- New tourism and recreational options facing the river in Lower Hutt CBD with the esplanade
The Chamber is providing the crucial advocacy and engagement between the RiverLink project team and the business community who will be significantly impacted by the project. Find out more here.