Hutt City’s $30m Eastern Bays shared path gets the green light

A 4.4km shared path around Hutt City’s Eastern Bays to Eastbourne has been given the green light after mediation successfully resolved an appeal over the project’s resource consent.

The $30 million Eastern Bays Shared Path will also include replacement seawalls for improved protection from storm-water events.

Currently there is low pedestrian and cyclist use because there are no dedicated cycling and walking facilities.

For the most part, people using these transport modes must use the road shoulder, which is very narrow and non-existent in sections.

The resource consent application for the shared path was lodged in April 2019 and granted in March this year.

One appeal was made during the subsequent appeal period relating to concerns the speed limit on Marine Drive would make the shared path less safe.

There were also concerns relating to bus stop design.

The appeal was made by one local resident, which a number of parties then joined both for and against it.

Following mediation earlier this week, parties committed to a speed review of Marine Drive and an investigation into traffic-calming measures.

A new consent condition was also added relating to the bus stops as well as consideration of a minimum 3m path width at York Bay.

The agreement means spades will hit the ground in the middle of this year – the start of a five-year construction project.

Hutt City Mayor Campbell Barry said it was very exciting.

“This has been a project long in the waiting for residents, particularly in the Eastern Bays, but right across the city and visitors to the area as well.

“I can picture people getting an e-bike for the day, jumping on the ferry, and cycling all the way back once all the work around the harbour is completed.”

Each bay will be constructed in full before moving on to the next one, starting at Windy Point and Sunshine Bay.

Each section is likely to take about three to six months to complete.

The project is being funded with $15m from the Government’s Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund, $7.5m from Waka Kotahi and $7.5m from Hutt City Council.

Waka Kotahi director of regional relationships Emma Speight said the project will further improve walking and cycling access in the region and link up to other walking and cycling paths like Te Ara Tupua.

This is a walking and cycling link being built between Wellington and Lower Hutt.

“Together, these projects will see more people choosing to walk and cycle in and between the Hutt Valley and Wellington,” Speight said.

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