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  • Ecology Survey Underway

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    A team of ecologists from Tonkin and Taylor, working on behalf of RiverLink, will be gathering field data on the existing local habitat around the boundary of properties in the Western Hills area this week. The ecology survey is on public land and their work will involve recording observations and taking photos of plants and wildlife in the area. The information they collect will be used to assess the environmental effects of projects planned as part of RiverLink.

  • RiverLink Developments

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    RiverLink is currently at the consenting phase and we are working to develop the design for RiverLink and preparing to apply for resource consents. During this stage we are also starting to consider construction plans. As the project progresses we will provide further updates.

    To recap on recent developments and the project’s aims:

    Melling Transport Improvements

    In January 2020 the Government announced the NZ Upgrade Programme – a major infrastructure funding package. This includes funding for transport improvements at Melling, which will be delivered by the Transport Agency, as part of RiverLink. Construction is expected to begin in late 2022 and be completed in 2026. The transport improvements will include a new Melling interchange, relocating the Melling train station, and better walking and cycling links.

    Flood Protection

    RiverLink’s flood protection work, delivered by Greater Wellington Regional Council, is expected to safeguard residents from large flood events that could affect up to 3,000 homes, five schools and 600 businesses, with the potential to cause an estimated $1.1 billion worth of damage across the community. Recent flooding events across New Zealand have shown the need for investment in flood protection infrastructure, and the devastating consequences for communities flooded as a result of not doing so.

    Urban growth and housing

    Beyond flood protection and transport upgrades, one of the goals of the RiverLink project is to spur urban growth and encourage the construction of more central city homes in the form of apartments. Hutt City Council has unveiled a Central City Transformation Plan to enable this growth. A new riverbank promenade, and a pedestrian and cycling bridge crossing the river near the relocated Melling station, are key parts of RiverLink that will be delivered by Hutt City Council and transform Lower Hutt.

  • Work Starts on the Belmont Wetland Pilot

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    This week work began on RiverLink's Belmont Wetland Project. Mulching existing river berm vegetation to remove blackberry and all existing berm trees within the site footprint in preparation of new lower wetland planting.

    In the week commencing 26 August environmental controls, fencing and signage will be in place. Topsoil and filling mounds will be stripped for the upper wetland and excavation of the upper wetland will commence. This material will form mounds in the river berm for planting.

    RiverLink is piloting riverbank revegetation, stream improvements and partial diversion of stormwater through constructed wetlands within the immediate floodplain of Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River. This pilot project is designed to test the feasibility of constructed wetlands within the modified river corridor to improve the mauri of the stream, habitat for indigenous flora and fauna, stormwater quality and control and understand the short- and long-term maintenance requirements.

    The proposal includes the partial diversion of stream flows from the Belmont catchment through a tiered wetland system. The existing modified stream will continue to carry baseflows up to 5 Litres per second to support fish passage to the upper headwaters. Above this, flows will split between the existing channel and the constructed wetland system to improve water quality.

    To split the proposed stream flow and protect the wetland system, two forebays will be constructed. The first controls flows into the wetland and the second helps trap sediments and spread flows across the full width of the wetland. The wetland comprises a mix of shallow and deep habitats to support a range of indigenous plants specifically chosen to improve water quality. This achieved by a mix of physical settling of sediments as well as complex biological and chemical processes to reduce urban contaminants including metals and nutrients.

    Other features include a podocarp treeland, native shrub river edge protection, pedestrian and vehicle access and carparks, a forebay service area and a grassed areas for gathering and interpretive signage.

    We will be holding a community planting day Mid September so look out for our Facebook event.

  • RiverLink Starts its Next Chapter

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    The RiverLink Project Partners, Hutt City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council with support from NZ Transport Agency, are excited to announce the appointment of Isthmus, Tonkin+Taylor, GHD and Holmes Consulting to take RiverLink through the consenting process. The team bring to RiverLink a world-class design, planning and engineering team.

    Isthmus take a design-led approach that deepen the connections between land, people and culture. They will look for win-win outcomes that are best-for-river and best-for-city.

    The team believe the key to success of RiverLink lies in close collaboration between the project partners, mana whenua, stakeholders and the local community.

    RiverLink will harness the spirit of Te Awa Kairangi/Hutt River to shape the future Lower Hutt.

    RiverLink is a partnership between Greater Wellington Regional Council, Hutt City Council and the NZ Transport Agency, that will deliver better flood protection, a revitalised city centre and improved transport links for the people of central Lower Hutt.

  • Ground Investigations Underway

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    Ground investigations are underway to help us develop the design of the proposed Melling transport improvements and other RiverLink projects. You may notice this work going on back in July near the existing Melling Bridge and work will commence again on 4 November. This round of drilling will be for 1 to 2 weeks.

    What is the purpose of the investigations?

    The Transport Agency will use the information gathered from these investigations to help develop the preliminary design of the preferred interchange option – a diamond interchange connecting directly with Queens Drive. The preliminary design is being developed as a part of the Detailed Business Case (DBC) for the transport improvements.

    The ground information helps us to understand what type of design is needed to construct a resilient bridge and interchange. It’s also important as it will help us ensure that any future transport improvements are designed to protect the Waiwhetu Aquifer – an important water supply for the whole region.

    The DBC is an important phase of the project. The Transport Agency expects to complete and consider the DBC for the Melling transport improvements by early 2020.

    Will I be affected by the ground investigation work?

    There will be work taking place at six sites spread across both sides of the river, in areas around the Melling and Riverbank car parks. One of these sites will be a borehole which will take around four days to complete. The remaining five sites will be CPTs (Cone Penetrometer Tests) which use a cone-shaped instrument to determine how much load can be put on the ground – will take one day each.

    All work will be done between 8am – 5pm, and work areas will be fenced off to keep people safe. Four parking spaces at Melling train station will be temporarily restricted during the borehole work. We do not expect this work to cause any other impact to people using the road or using Melling train station.

    Further ground investigations

    Investigations will then continue at various sites on both sides of the river, from upstream of Melling Bridge to the Ewen Bridge. This work will inform the design of the new stopbanks, a large retaining wall which will support the promenade, piers and abutments for the pedestrian cycle bridge. We also expect the findings to help us understand how a nearby major fault line could impact our designs and how best to protect the aquifer.

    At some locations, there will be limited access to the river and traffic management in place at various times. The map below shows where the work will be done.

    Follow the RiverLink Facebook page for regular updates on this work.

  • Turning the vision of RiverLink into reality

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    RiverLink has reached another milestone!

    Greater Wellington Regional Council and Hutt City Council now have in place the design for riverworks and the promenade, and fnding is committed in their Long Term Plans.

    The RiverLink team recently presented the preliminary design to the Greater Wellington Regional Council's Hutt Valley Flood Management Subcommittee and the Hutt City Council Development Committee. Both councils committed to the preliminary design and funding to deliver RiverLink. In 2019 we will start seeking the necessary resource consents.

    Transport Minister Phil Twyford received an onsite briefing recently. It was a great opportunity to welcome him and discuss how RiverLink has the potential to transform Lower Hutt.

    One aspect of a significant project such as RiverLink is making sure that programme outcomes align with the government’s land transport system investment strategy. Taking a fresh look at transport priorities provides an opportunity to maximise project outcomes. An opportunity was recently taken to discuss the importance of RiverLink to the Lower Hutt community.

    While the NZ Transport Agency consider how the new vision for the transport network might apply to the Melling transport improvements project, its full steam ahead for geotechnical investigations.

    The rest of 2018 will be busy for RiverLink as we gather geotechnical information about what’s under the ground. This will help us protect the aquifer as we refine our designs. You can read more about this below.

    You will also see some activity around Belmont School with the construction of a trial wetland. One of the most important aims of RiverLink is to keep our river healthy. Constructed wetlands will filter stormwater runoff before it reaches Te Awa Kairanga / Hutt River.

  • RiverLink geotechnical works gets underway in August 2018

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    Next month, the RiverLink team will start investigations to better understand the geotechnical complexities of the Hutt Valley. This work will inform the design of the new stopbanks, a large retaining wall which will support the promenade, piers and abutments for the pedestrian cycle bridge and help us understand the costs for building a highway interchange and new Melling bridge. We also expect the findings to help us understand how a nearby major fault line could impact our designs and how best to protect the aquifer beneath the surface.

    From August to October 2018 you can expect to see all manner of machinery both in and around the river. We’ll use excavators, drill rigs and other geophysics equipment – all in accordance with resource consent conditions. This work will take place on both sides of the river from just upstream of Melling Bridge to the Ewen Bridge. The enclosed map shows where the work will be done.

    At some locations, there will at times be limited access to the river. There will be traffic management in place along Daly Street and the Melling railway station carpark while work is done at these locations. More details about what to expect will be available closer to the time.

    If you want to know more about the upcoming geotechnical work, please contact:

    Lucy Ashford
    Engineering GeologistStantec,
    P: 027 562 7228

    Genevieve Drake
    Communications Advisor
    P: 021 676 425

  • Shift in Government transport priorities prompts fresh look at Melling transport improvements

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    Every three years, the government issues an investment strategy on the land transport system called the Government Policy Statement on land transport, also known as the GPS. The GPS is a document that guides land transport investment over a ten year period. Transport investments have long lead times, high costs and leave long legacies. Good transport investments therefore require careful planning to ensure that today’s transport network will be able to meet our future needs.

    The new GPS 2018 is committed to creating an efficient, modern and resilient transport system for New Zealand, across all transport modes and reflects this new approach through four clear priorities:

    • a safer transport network free of death and injury
    • accessible and affordable transport
    • reduced emissions and
    • value for money.

    The NZ Transport Agency are now working with councils and others to realise the new vision for the transport network outlined in GPS 2018. This work means taking a fresh look at transport investments across the country, including the Melling transport improvements project, to ensure that they align with the new priorities of GPS 2018.

    At this stage, the Transport Agency cannot say how the Melling project plans will be affected until the process of carefully looking at the options is further along. Some projects may need to bring amended plans back to the community to allow them to have input and express their views. To ensure that this work is robust and delivers the best outcomes, the process is expected to take approximately three to six months.

    In undertaking this work, the Transport Agency will take into account the outcomes that are the priority for the Wellington region as set out in the Regional Land Transport Plan.

    The Transport Agency's team will complete the work as quickly as possible while not compromising quality. We will update you again as soon as we are able to share more. Updates will be published on the Transport Agency website as it becomes available here.

  • RiverLink Engagement for Melling Transport Improvements

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    by Charlotte,
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    Over the past few years you’ve told us how important flood protection is, how we can improve your ability to move around Lower Hutt and what kind of urban experience you’re seeking.

    This map shows the positive changes RiverLink will deliver when fully implemented.

    Designing the transport improvements

    All RiverLink partners were involved in narrowing down the interchange options. Working closely together ensured that implications for the stopbanks and urban renewal were considered alongside the transport effects. We have considered 43 options for a new Melling interchange. The project team have narrowed the options down to three designs for a diamond interchange and a new bridge over the river connecting into Hutt City. For more information on how the options were selected, please take a look at the ‘Engagement Display Boards’.

    The three options now being considered for a new Melling interchange have the following things in common:

    • a grade separated diamond interchange
    • a new river bridge
    • reduces risk of flooding to the city centre
    • reduces traffic congestion
    • requires local road improvements
    • safer than current intersection
    • removes the at-grade traffic signals from SH2
    • moves the railway station closer to the city centre and provides better park and ride
    • Tirohanga Road connects to Harbour View
    • pedestrians and cyclists are separated from traffic
    • future proofed for a possible extension of the Melling railway line.

    Tell us what you think

    We welcome your comments on the options for the Melling Interchange and how a new bridge should connect into Hutt City. There are several ways to get involved:

    Attend a public open day at the Dowse Art Museum on:

    • Thursday 10 May, 4pm – 7pm
    • Saturday 12 May, 10am – 4pm
    • Wednesday 16 May, 4pm – 7pm

    Come chat with the RiverLink project team in the container at the Riverbank markets on:

    • Saturday 12 May, 8am – 2pm
    • Saturday 19 May, 8am – 2pm
    • Saturday 26 May, 8am – 2pm

    Come chat with the RiverLink project team at Queensgate Mall on:

    • Thursday 24 May, 10am – 1pm and 4pm – 7pm
    • Friday 25 May, 10am – 1pm and 4pm – 7pm
    • Saturday 26 May, 10am – 5pm
    • Sunday 27 May, 10am – 5pm

    Send our team an email at

    Click to download our engagements boards

    Click to download our engagement guide

    We will use your feedback, alongside technical information, to select a preferred option.

    You should know – that funding hasn’t been agreed and timing for this project is uncertain. The Transport Agency needs to make decisions on:

    • the preferred option
    • the timing of the project
    • how the project could be funded.

    Following this engagement period:
    • the project team will assess the technical information and the community feedback
    • NZTA will make decisions on the above.

    Feedback is open until Sunday 10 June 2018.

  • Riverlink Summer Engagement Programme

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    by Charlotte,
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    The RiverLink Summer events programme showcased the Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River as a
    destination while promoting the vision for RiverLink.

    The Riverbank beach provided a fantastic backdrop for casual conversations to occur at the information container on market days, after people had bought their veggies for the week. Plenty of people making use of the Hutt River Trail stopped to find out what the container was all about as well. With the RiverLink container having a presence over the summer, the team got to know some of the families regularly using the space – which was lovely.

    Over the lazy summer days, (with a few downpours to keep us on our toes) all sorts of issues were covered such as transport linkages, city growth, the future of the market, the Hutt River’s water depth and toxic algae. There was also interest around associated projects including the Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt Environmental Strategy Action Plan and Hutt Central City spatial planning.