The Prime Minister has officially opened the Transmission Gully motorway, in time for the Easter break, school holidays, and the return of tourists to New Zealand.
“Transmission Gully will transform the Wellington region, making it quicker and safer for people and goods to travel through the lower North Island,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“The 7 to 15-minute shorter journey for about 25,000 vehicles a day means a productivity gain of 1,640 hours – meaning less time spent in cars and more time at work and with family.”
The PM said the road represents the largest Government investment in New Zealand’s infrastructure in a generation.
“It is an example of modern infrastructure that features the highest safety measures, treads lightly through the environment and is future proofed for generations to come,” she said.
“Projects like this will help New Zealand to bounce back better from COVID-19, which is why the Government is investing a record amount in infrastructure to reconnect New Zealanders, reduce emissions and support the economic recovery.”
Minister Grant Robertson says Transmission Gully provides a safer and more reliable route to ensure Wellington remains connected in the event of an earthquake or major storm severing other transport routes.
“The new motorway will also have economic benefits with faster movement of freight and more resilience in our transport links,” he said.
“There have been lengthy delays to the opening of this road because of National’s botched Public Private Partnership. We have cleaned up their mess so commuters going in and out of Wellington will finally be able to use the alternative route.
“It’s important we learn from National’s mistakes, and we’ve asked the Infrastructure Commission Te Waihanga to revise New Zealand’s PPP guidance to make sure any future PPPs don’t encounter these same issues. Wellingtonians deserve proper answers as to why this road took so long to be completed, so we’re committed to undertaking another review to learn all the lessons from this debacle.”
The road spans 27 kilometres of challenging terrain, requiring innovative environmental and construction techniques, the Minister said.
“What was a series of steep valleys, criss-crossed with streams, and flanked by inaccessible hills, is now a state-of-the-art motorway that crosses gullies, passes over waterways and winds through pristine native bush. Around two and a half million native trees and plants were planted as part of the project.”
“Everyone should get where they’re going safely whether they’re walking, cycling, driving, motorcycling or using public transport.
“Transmission Gully is built to the highest safety specifications and will provide a much safer route for road users. The new motorway will also see fewer vehicles using the old coastal route.
“Thanks to the ongoing work by Waka Kotahi, in partnership with iwi and local councils, safety improvements will be made on that route and throughout the region. Together, this means that lives will be saved and many serious injuries will be prevented,” the Minister said.
The Government, local mayors, iwi, stakeholders and community gathered to cut the ribbon today on the 27-kilometre motorway from Wellington through Kapiti, which will open to traffic tomorrow, March 31.