New Northern Link Opens this Weekend

15 April 2013

Glenside and Churton Park residents will be able to walk Wellington’s newest road this Saturday (20 April) before it opens to traffic on Sunday, and are organising a community festival nearby to help mark its completion.

The new road is an extension to Westchester Drive, which goes through Glenside between Middleton Road and Lakewood Avenue. It will make it quicker and easier for Churton Park and Stebbings Valley residents to get on and off State Highway 1 and provide better cycling and pedestrian connections.

The new 800-metre link road is expected to reduce through-traffic in Churton Park, ease peak-hour congestion in Johnsonville, and potentially allow for future, more direct bus routes.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown will open the road at 11am on Saturday 20 April on the new bridge at the western end (below the Brethren Church). Between 10am and 3pm, people will be able to walk along it and take a good look. It will open to vehicles from 7am this Sunday 21 April.

The Mayor says the road has been a catalyst for the development of important community facilities in the area. “Without this road being agreed, the supermarket, the community centre and smaller shops wouldn’t have happened,” she says.

"This road will enable more residential-zoned land to be available for new housing with a real community heart. It is also important that the stream through Glenside and heritage of this area is protected. Glenside is the historical location of the ‘Halfway House’ between Wellington and Porirua.”

Local businesses and community organisations are planning a range of things on Saturday. Glenside Progressive Association and the Onslow Historical Society will run a guided tour about the history of the area leaving from the western bridge at 1pm.

There will also be lots going on at Churton Park Village between 12 noon and 3pm, including a competition for the best decorated pram, bike or scooter; ukulele, dance and drumming performances; a best-dressed pet competition; car seat checks and a free zumba class.

The Council’s Transport Portfolio Leader, Councillor Andy Foster, says the road will allow for more growth in Wellington’s northern suburbs.

“The project is a significant part of the ongoing development of the Churton Park and Glenside suburbs,” he says. “It will take pressure off other parts of the roading network and contribute to road safety.”

Mayor Wade-Brown says the new pedestrian and road link runs right alongside Stebbings Stream, which flows into Porirua Stream and on into Porirua Harbour, so environmental considerations have been an important part of the project.

“The stream has been bridged to better protect the waterway and stream life, rather than it disappearing underground,” she says. “The stormwater from the road that ends up in the stream will be as clean as possible. Four thousand native plants will look good and reduce pollution run-off.”

Most of the stormwater is being piped into roadside swales – shallow, sloping hollows designed to slow the flow of water and replicate nature. Oil and other pollutants such as rubber and brake linings get trapped as the water flows down through the grass and then across rock ‘rip-rap’ before being channelled into the stream. Where it wasn’t possible to use swales, special interceptors have been installed to filter run-off. 

Planting is an important part of the project. Steeper slopes have been hydro-seeded with a mix of grasses. Blackberry and other weeds have been removed and over the next few months nearly 4000 native plants will be going in to help restore the stream banks and adjoining roadside areas.

Work on the new road and footpath has taken two years. It involved major earthworks, the construction of two new bridges, a roundabout, new retaining walls and barrier fences. New services including water and sewage mains and ducting for power, gas and telecommunications have also been installed.

As part of the project, a section of Stebbings Road has been upgraded for recreational use and will be closed to general traffic when the new road opens.