Wellington infrastructure fast tracked to stimulate economy
The Government is fast tracking two Wellington infrastructure projects to help stimulate the region’s economy post COVID-19.
Eleven infrastructure projects will largely bypass the Resource Management Act (RMA) and be referred to Expert Consenting Panels for approval instead. Wellington’s Future Rail programme and Te Ara Tupua (Petone – Ngauranga shared path) are among the 11 projects.
Future Rail, also known as the Wellington Metro Upgrade, will deliver rail services with fewer speed restrictions and outages, longer trains and more services for Metlink commuters.
Roger Blakeley Chair of Greater Wellington’s Transport Committee says fast tracking is very positive for the region.
“With more than 14 million passenger journeys a year on the Wellington rail network, KiwiRail and Metlink are working together to upgrade what we have, make services more reliable, and enable more people to travel on trains in the future. Anything that gets us to this point quicker is welcome,” say Cr Blakeley.
Te Ara Tupua, a cycleway and walkway between Petone and Ngauranga, is the other Wellington infrastructure project to be fast tracked.
Wellington City Council Mayor Andy Foster says Te Ara Tupua will be transformational and create a safe and efficient walking and cycling route between Wellington and Lower Hutt as well as connections with other walking and cycling facilities such as the Petone Esplanade and the Hutt River Trail. It will also improve storm resilience for the vital rail and road corridor between Wellington and the Hutt Valley.
“This project is about connecting more of our region and keeping people safe. In real terms, consenting elements will be reduced from a minimum of six months and prospectively up to 26 months to less than 75 days which will really speed up our ability to provide jobs and deliver on our commitment to the public,” says Mayor Foster.
Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry says Te Ara Tupua will bring the Wellington region closer together.
“We are working collaboratively with our partners at Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, mana whenua and other councils to deliver Te Ara Tupua. By providing a safer route between Lower Hutt and Wellington City, we can create a valued community and recreation asset and also enhance resilience in an area prone to climate change events,” says Mayor Barry.
Future Rail is a joint initiative between KiwiRail and Greater Wellington with currently funded works which will be delivered until 2026, providing over 90 jobs.
Te Ara Tupua is a joint initiative between Greater Wellington Regional Council, Wellington City Council, Hutt City Council, mana whenua and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. It is expected to deliver 30-40 jobs.