A more resilient Wellington transport network is being built to avoid the gridlock that the Terrace Tunnel closure caused yesterday, Mayor Justin Lester has said.
He was reluctant, however, to go in to whether that would include light rail at the risk of incurring the transport minister’s wrath.
The fatal accident in the tunnel on State Highway 1 yesterday morning turned commutes into the CBD of 15 to 20 minutes into journeys of up to 50 minutes.
“This happens very infrequently in the capital,” Mayor Lester told TVNZ 1's Breakfast.
“We need to build more resilience into our roads,” he admitted though.
“We know what the solutions are in Wellington, so we’re building some of them.”
Mayor Lester said the Transmission Gully project would be completed in two years because Paekākāriki and the Paekākāriki Hills are “a real risk during an earthquake or a major storm”.
"Likewise, State Highway 2 as you travel from Wellington to Lower Hutt, we need greater resilience around that because there’s one road and it suffers from storm surge.
“So, we’re looking at building a road from Petone to Grenada which would give you another route.
“In through Wellington we need some more resilience, we’ve got a process called Let’s Get Wellington Moving, we’ve been working on that for about two years.
“In the next few weeks I hope with some cabinet approval, we’ll be moving forwards on some big changes there.”
Asked about the possibility of some light rail being built, the mayor was sheepish.
“That’s definitely in the mix, I can’t say too much at the moment, I don’t want to incur the wrath of the transport minister (Phil Twyford) and he’s doing a really good job working on that, so I won’t speak out of turn.”