Lower Hutt residents slam Government's lack of transport spending

Residents of Lower Hutt are frustrated they've been left out of the Government's $6.4 billion transport spend-up in Wellington.

The Mayor says urgent changes are needed on State Highway 2 - but no money has been committed.

The Hutt Valley is home to nearly 150,000 people, and many stream into Wellington City every day for work.

"It's a disgrace, it's taking me an hour-and-a-half to get from Petone to Wellington, that's peak hour traffic," says Jackson Street Programme chair Leonie Dobbs.

The Government has a multibillion-dollar plan to "get Wellington moving" - but it has nothing to ease congestion from the Hutt.

"We pay a regional rate for the whole of Wellington region, and it looks like the suburbs like Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt, even Porirua, have been cut off at the gorge," Dobbs says.

Lower Hutt's Mayor is happy for Wellington, but says the city needs an upgrade to the traffic-clogged Melling intersection on SH2.

Plans have already been drawn up for an interchange but no money has been put aside.

"We can't afford to have it happen in 10 years, it's got to happen now, Lower Hutt is the second largest city within the Wellington region," says Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace.

Wallace says a third lane from Petone to the Ngauranga Gorge is also desperately needed.

"It's a no brainer and the Government really needs to step up," he says.

During a briefing this week, Lower Hutt's Mayor said Transport Minister Phil Twyford assured him the projects would eventually go ahead, and he's going to be holding him to that assurance.

But for the time being there's no end in sight for this.


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