Two high-profile Hutt roading improvements are in doubt due to changes in the way the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) funds local projects.
NZTA recently announced its national programme for 2012-2015. With a greater emphasis on roads of national importance, there are fishhooks for Lower Hutt.
The Wainuiomata hill bridge, the Eastern Bays walkway and the seismic strengthening of bridges all now fall outside NZTA funding criteria.
That means they are unlikely to proceed unless 100 per cent funded by Hutt City Council.
Infrastructure manager Bruce Sherlock says that most of the city's planned roading projects fall into two NZTA categories, which 'mean we can be pretty certain' the council will get a subsidy.
The remaining projects are in either the reserve or not funded categories.
Projects in the reserve category may be funded within three years, if other currently funded projects anywhere in New Zealand do not proceed.
The three local projects that now have an uncertain future are: Wainuiomata hill bridge. The council has $820,000 in its annual plan but the project is now unlikely to proceed this year. It has reserve status and could go ahead within three years if other projects fall over.
Eastern Bays walkways. The council has allocated $604,000 in 2013-2014 for work in York Bay. There is now little chance it will go ahead unless the council funds the entire cost.
Seismic strengthening of Wingate, Wainuiomata and Seaview road bridges. The council has set aside $806,000 but without an NZTA subsidy, this is unlikely to proceed. The council is talking with NZTA to see if a way forward can be found.
Mr Sherlock says the real message is that the three-year programme has an element of flexibility, with NZTA 'promoting' projects as cash becomes available, via currently funded projects not coming to fruition.
It is possible that councillors could decide to allocate the money that has been budgeted for both projects, to do a complete one without getting a NZTA subsidy, he says.
But it is more likely that with the Government subsidy for such projects at 58 per cent, councillors will wait for the subsidy to be available and pressure NZTA to fund the work.
The Upper Hutt Leader has reported Upper Hutt has lost funding for seismic strengthening of the Totara Park and Silverstream bridges, as well as for cycleways.
- Hutt News
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