The Eye of the Fish

February 20, 2014

Takapu Valley

I must confess that I don’t really understand what is the plan around the new road up Transmission Gully, but having been reading about the new proposed route up Takapu Valley, it got my interest up. I’d never even heard of it before – seems like I am not alone there – I’ve not yet met anyone else who has been up there. So, last weekend I thought I would have a wee explore, to see where it was, and what it was.

From the motorway north, it certainly looks like a logical place to spin off from the present State Highway. Opposite the new Countdown at Tawa, and the woman’s jail nearby, there is a big intersection leading off to Granada North industrial area, and there is the start of a valley leading north-east. I can see why the highways people might think it is a good place to start a new road: the actual route, a few kilometers north, does not look nearly as inviting. Regardless, though, there will have to be some massive earthworks undertaken in order to build these highways! No wonder it is going to cost a billion dollars, or two billion, or whatever it is.

But once you do a little snaking manoeuvre past the bottom of Jamaica Drive in Grenada, you wiggle around a couple more corners, and then: oh my god, religious experience moment: it’s a little slice of back country time warp….

I kid you not – I thought that I had gone back in time by 50 or 100 years. I can see why the residents of Takapu Valley don’t want it touched – it is a very special slice of heaven. There are brick red barns of rusting corrugated iron and peeling weatherboards. There are tiny tiny horses, not even as tall as a fencepost, who look sooo cute, and gave me a haughty look while they trotted away. The road is small, wiggly and narrow, at places only one lane wide – in fact, in most places only one lane wide – and with big jutty stone walls and clumps of thick bush either side. The road is even more narrow than that mad route out to Makara! It’s sort of extraordinary that such a place can exist so close to the city. And those sweet little horses would be most unhappy, I’m pretty sure!

It is, as the Beatles said once, a long and winding road, and it takes me back. At the end, it runs into Belmont Regional Park and a large electric power sub-station, but I guess that’s what you are going to find in a place called Transmission Gully. However, there is no doubt to me that this would be a monumentally inappropriate place to build a motorway. The residents of the valley are not exaggerating when they say it would kill the valley if a big road went through – it would absolutely destroy the entire valley if you did that. There would have to be massive earthworks, really REALLY massive earthworks, in order to get a straightish 20m wide swathe up a valley that is currently only about 2.5m wide at present.

Possibly the best way that you could experience this is by bike. I’d like to challenge Mayor Wade-Brown and Fran Wilde to venture off up there this weekend on bikes, and to come back and say how much they liked it.

Seamonkey Madness
21 - 02 - 14

Another monumental cock-up from NZTA (or the developer?)

21 - 02 - 14

There does appear to be something very strange going on with regard to Transmission Gully, and the several options for “Link roads” that are now appearing on the table. The Takapu Valley lot are convinced that it is all part of a greater conspiracy to pull traffic away from Porirua, and through Tawa instead, but Councilor Andy Foster has already said no, that’s not the case. There is an obvious need to link at least somewhere from the Hutt to the Trannie, but I’m not convinced that you need anything more than the existing Hayward’s Hill route to do that.
I agree with Gloria that Takapu valley may make perfect sense on paper, certainly more so than where NZTA are planning to place the road at present. What I’m amazed about is just how vague everything is at present. It’s like the Wellington fog is permeating everything, including planners brains…

andy foster
21 - 02 - 14

Hi Maximus – yes we in fact are planning a bike ride at the invitation of one of the land owners. I’ve been up there a few times to run in Belmont Regional Park before, but not looked at it in terms of potential impacts of a road, Your description of the existing environment seems pretty reasonable. I would imagine landowners along the Transmission Gully alignment would understand the issue.

Council has long supported the concept of a link road between Petone and Grenada, and this was endorsed by the region’s 9 councils in the 2005 Wellington Regional Strategy. However the idea that there would be more traffic north of this and therefore the desire to build another road through Takapu Valley or add more lanes onto the existing highway through Tawa were both out of the blue from our perspective. There is definitely a question in my mind as to whether they are needed.

Warmest regards

Andy Foster
Chair – Transport and Urban Development
Wellington City Council

22 - 02 - 14

Aside from the point that article was one of my posts, not Max’s, thank you for your reply Mr Foster. Very glad to hear that you may be going to cycle through the valley – and congrats on your kayak paddle across the Cook Strait the other day, too. Most impressive! Quite an action man really, aren’t you… PS – watch out for the miniature ponies. They looked friendly, but I have an inherent distrust of a horse that looks the size of a cat…

24 - 02 - 14

The plan for the new road has it running up the back of the properties, not along the existing road. I think the amount of earthworks planned would be interesting… but it is just a 2-lane 80kmh road and not a big-ass motorway.

Something needs to be done or TGM will root SH1. I have always thought that joining a 4-lane motorway from Transmission Gully and a 4-lane motorway from Porirua and Mana (and a new link from Kenepuru) to the existing 4-lane motorway heading south would require widening south of the TGM/SH1 junction (at least as far as the Hutt turnoff). Seems blatantly obvious to me – like the SH1/SH2 merge. And as the 4+4=6 equation at SH1/SH2 doesn’t work at peak, why would 4+4=4 work at TGM/SH1? Unless of course NZTA jedi-mind-tricked everyone, which is a real possibility.

And I concur on the tiny ponies. Not to be trusted, they’re nasty little buggers.

24 - 02 - 14

Julian – you raise some interesting points, which I think deserve another post all of their own. We’ll see if we can put something together – although I’m a bit busy at the mo, so it might not be immediate. But I’m intrigued that you say the proposal for the Takapu Valley is not for down the bottom, but up the top at the back – where have you seen that? I wasn’t aware that anything had been published yet. Is it public? Do you have a reference ?

25 - 02 - 14

Just the location of the Big Red Line on the NZTA aerials. Looks to be largely a couple of hundred metres south-east of the existing road.

25 - 02 - 14

But I can’t find any big red lines or any aerials – all i can find is really crap info from NZTA. Have you got a reference?

26 - 02 - 14

The Takapu Valley Link Rd is just a proposal, but by proposing it NZTA admit that Transmission Gully will cause some serious head aches and congestion on SH1 between Tawa and Ngauranga Gorge.

So the solution to the massive congestion caused by the multi billion dollar Transmission Gully motorway is to build more roads! Hopefully siphoning off cars away from SH1 and sending them to the Hutt. The Grenada to Petone road has been proposed for ages but the Takapu Rd link is brand new and would wreck a brilliantly paradisical valley.

Why cant NZTA admit that Transmission Gully is going to cause all this additional congestion and add the costs of the grenada/petone/takapu bandaid to the TG project, rather than pretend they are separate…..

26 - 02 - 14

Julian – the proposal is for a “big-ass motorway”, not “just a 2-lane 80km/h road”: see (if they’re online) NZTA’s detailed graphics from last Saturday’s open day in Petone.

Gary Robertson
18 - 03 - 14

My father his father and his brother farmed that land from the beginning. Tom Robertson(my dad) had the land where the substation is today and it ran back to nearly phatanui(bad spelling)we left in 1962/3, his uncle Walter(deceased) had the farm next down the road and owned those mountainous hills that look over Wellington harbour, Toms dad Harold Robertson(Walters brother) had the next farm down the road where the cowshed still sits on the road frontage and the home still sits up on the hill. Tom and Gordon Robertson(who worked Harold farm) are still alive and my Dad is 90 on the 15th April. I helped my dad on that farm of sheep and milking cows and I have fond memories of Takapu Valley.

19 - 03 - 14

Gary, Mike, and PBY, nice to have your comments here, and especially Gary’s personal history of the Valley – really lovely to hear about that.
Having been watching the battle over the Transmission Gully, Kapiti Expressway, and Basin Bridge – all with NZTA, then if you’re against the proposal for a road through Takapu Valley (as you should be) then you will need to be really strong and organised about opposing it. I’m trying to provide a place here, where conversation and reasoned discussion can happen, but NZTA are immensely powerful, having the full weight of the government behind them. There is a Takapu Valley website already, and you’ll need to have a strong plan to get people to put in submissions to NZTA – which close at the end of the month i think.

7 - 04 - 14

There is also some very good commentary from Michael Dickens in a couple of places – at the Transport Blog website (there’s a link to it below), and also in the comments to Scoop (linked here direct):

7 - 04 - 14

Here is the link to the Transport Blog article:

13 - 04 - 14

On Wellington.Scoop, we’ve taken another look at the Takapu Valley situation and we’ve received 27 (and counting) comments from distressed residents
Andy Foster has also had a go at explaining the council’s passive approach to what’s been announced, and a further 15 comments have been published following his article