Council dumps Cross Valley Link

BY NICHOLAS BOYACK
Last updated 11:15 22/03/2011

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It's official; the Cross Valley Link (CVL) is a "dead duck" and no longer has Hutt City Council support.

Councillors debating the draft annual plan this month agreed with an officer's report that the time has come to pull the pin on the project.

The CVL, running from Gracefield and the eastern hills, along Wakefield St, to link with State Highway 2, has long been touted as the best option to reduce traffic congestion on the Petone Esplanade and Jackson St.

The council had budgeted $21.5 million as its share, and had hoped that the government stump up with the remaining estimated $54 million. It is now looking at an alternative plan to ease traffic congestion on The Esplanade, estimated to cost $20 million.

Cr Roger Styles said it is clear the CVL is a "dead duck" and that there is no chance of getting a subsidy. The council must now look at other options.

Veteran councillor Margaret Cousins said the link road idea has been around longer than her. It has never stacked up financially but she expects it will be raised again.

Mayor Ray Wallace said that the CVL remains a good idea but at $75 million, it is simply beyond current budgets.

But the council can't ignore the traffic congestion on The Esplanade, Mr Wallace said.

The future of the Petone Grenada link road, which is needed to take traffic off State Highway Two (SH 2) and Ngauranga Gorge, will now need to be clarified.

Mayor Wallace also asked for clarification on costs for a range of improvements on the Esplanade.

General manager Bruce Sherlock said the costs represented "five minutes" worth of work on the back of an envelope and much more investigation is now needed.

He also indicated that New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) regards the Petone-Grenada road as a priority. But that situation could change as a result of the Christchurch earthquake, he said. Porirua's mayor has already suggested that the region's top priority is Transmission Gully, and if savings need to be made because of the hit on the economy from the earthquake, the Petone-Grenada road could go (see page 45). Mayor Wallace said the council will write to NZTA emphasising support for the Petone-Grenada project and the need to ease traffic on SH2 and the gorge.

Earlier in the meeting Petone Community Board chairman Gerald Davidson called on the council to put pressure on KiwiRail to resume freight services to and from Seaview/Gracefield. He said it is "ludicrous" that logging trucks are going between Seaview and Wellington, when the logs could be moved by rail.

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