Why Hutt Road rather than a coastal route

Hutt Road has been selected as the most viable route to provide a northern connection in Wellington’s wider cycling network.

It will be part of the Wellington to Hutt Valley cycling and walking link, connecting with the central city via Thorndon Quay, and eventually through to Melling in Lower Hutt.

The transport corridor between Kaiwharawhara and the city is being considered as part of the Let's Get Wellington Moving (LGWM) project.

In mid-2020, LGWM plans to develop and seek feedback on options to improve bus priority along Hutt Road and Thorndon Quay.

The work will include changes to make Thorndon Quay safer for people on foot and on bikes. Any changes will complement the significant improvements that have already been made on Hutt Road for pedestrians and cyclists. 

Long-term, it is also possible a coastal route could be developed as part of the Great Harbour Way, that would provide an alternative to Hutt Road closer to the harbour.

Coastal route challenges

Major and costly new infrastructure – overbridges or under-passes – could be required to get people coming from the northern and western suburbs, including Johnsonville, Newlands, Khandallah and Ngaio, across the railway lines and motorway to the coast.

Without  a good connection, the coastal route would only really work for commuters going between the Hutt Valley and central Wellington, and recreational users.

Even if a future coastal route is developed one day, many people will likely opt to take the faster, more direct route along Hutt Road.

Some of the challenges in developing include: 

  • Health, safety and logistical issues at the inter-island ferry terminal and vehicle and rail loading areas. There are serious concerns about providing a cycle route through operational port areas. 
  • A mix of landowners, including Centre Port and KiwiRail, would all need to have suitable surplus land in this location, and be willing to sell or provide long-term access for this purpose. This has not been the case to date, but discussions are continuing.
  • A reclamation would be required along the coastline because there isn’t enough land on the seaward side of the railway line to build a path for people on foot and bikes. This would be expensive and require consents.
  • A harbour route would be very exposed to wind and weather. Hutt Road is less exposed so is more likely to be used in bad weather.

You may also be interested in finding out more about Thorndon Quay