Link road 'yes' ... but not near us

KRIS DANDO
Last updated 11:11 20/05/2014

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People want a quicker route between the Porirua basin and the Hutt Valley, but community concerns about NZ Transport Agency's options could force a re-think.

The agency said last week 1400 submissions were received on its two proposed preferences, released in February - widening State Highway 1 between Takapu and Linden, or a road through the Takapu Valley.

Agency regional director Jenny Chetwynd said the public's response was phenomenal and would provide valuable insight as it developed the project.

She said most submissions were supportive of a link road in principle, but there was a lot of anxiety raised.

"Many residents have questioned the need for a Takapu Valley link or the widening of State Highway 1, [especially] about loss of land affecting homes and community facilities," she said.

"We're very conscious of concerns about property loss and the impact it will have on the lives of people."

Tawa Community Board chairman Robert Tredger said the board had attended several community meetings and gathered a lot of feedback from the public.

"There are a lot of efficient and diligent people in Tawa and Takapu who have huge misgivings over what NZTA is proposing and we want to advocate for them.

"We have seen that there is favour for a link, but at this point the disruption and the negatives outweigh the benefits. We think NZTA needs to go away and come up with more practical solutions."

An interchange at Churton Park instead of Tawa, no tolls, more emphasis on use of public transport, impacts on Grenada North playing fields and better communication with residents were the key elements of the community board submission.

Chetwynd said other issues raised in submissions included support for improvements to SH58, agreement that a Petone interchange was needed, concerns over more traffic at a Tawa interchange and support that dirt and rock from any earthworks go towards a walking and cycling facility on the harbourside.

It was too early to tell how many submitters were completely in favour of the two options, she said. A more robust overview was likely to be weeks away.

A summary on the submissions is likely to be available in July or August.

A preferred route should be finalised late this year.

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