The Government is fast-tracking two major Wellington infrastructure projects — rail services, titled Future Rail, and the Te Ara Tupua pathway from Petone to Ngauranga
The aim is to help stimulate the region’s economy post COVID-19.
The projects will largely bypass the Resource Management Act (RMA) and insted will be referred to Expert Consenting Panels for approval.
Commuters will benefit from rail improvements
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.
More than 14 million passenger journeys take place each year on the Wellington rail network, says Roger Blakeley Chair of the region’s Transport Committee.
He says: “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.
The new walkway and cycleway
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.
It will also connect with other walking and cycling paths such as the Petone Esplanade and the Hutt River Trail.
And Mayor Foster says it will also improve storm resilience for the vital rail and road corridor between Wellington and the Hutt Valley.
“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..
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 the Regional Council, Wellington City Council, Hutt City Council, mana whenua and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. It is expected to deliver 30-40 jobs.