It’s hard to believe it’s almost one year since Te Aranui o Te Rangihaeata – Transmission Gully motorway opened!

Over 8.4 million vehicle journeys have taken place since the motorway opened. The motorway has made journeys more reliable for commuters, businesses and services, connected cities in the Wellington region and had positive economic impacts.

Did you know – over the past 12 months:

  • There have been approximately 8.4 million journeys on the Transmission Gully motorway.
  • Around 1.2 km of damaged road safety barriers have been replaced – this means they have done their job in preventing head-on and run off road crashes.
  • Ventia have had 2,218 call outs and attended 56 incidents on the motorway.
  • There have been around 8,760 hours of continuous 24/7 monitoring of the motorway by the Transport Operations Centre.
  • Several lost property items have been recovered from the motorway including: a car bonnet (this was returned to the owner), the side of a truck, some gib and timber, lots of load tie-down strops, a Maserati personalised number plate (also returned to owner), and a wheelie bin. A gentle reminder for motorists to ensure your load is tied all down correctly!

In celebration of the one-year milestone, Ventia asked a few locals how the motorway has been for them, their regions, businesses and communities, and here’s what they had to say:  

Janet Holborow

Mayor Janet Holborow

Janet Holborow, Mayor of Kāpiti Coast District Council talks about the economic impact and reliability of the motorway:

“Transmission Gully has been hugely beneficial for the district. We have experienced a significant increase in visitor numbers and spend, so more people are coming to experience the wonderful environment, food, shopping and attractions on offer in Kāpiti. More importantly, locals now know they can reliably and more quickly travel to and from the coast, getting home to enjoy the sunset instead of sitting in traffic!”

The Transmission Gully motorway has seen a steady and reliable traffic flow throughout the year, despite fluctuations in traffic volumes around public holidays, events, and during temporary closures of SH58 and SH59 over winter.

Mayor of Porirua City, Anita Baker, reflects that the motorway makes Porirua feel more connected and accessible:

Anita Baker

Mayor Anita Baker

“After many years of frustrating delays and cost blowouts, Transmission Gully opened under something of a cloud. But, for commuters, businesses and families in Porirua, it has eased congestion, eliminated countless hours stuck in traffic, and made our region feel more accessible and connected than ever. We love Transmission Gully and our link roads.” 

As a managed motorway, Transmission Gully is closely monitored 24/7, and since opening, Ventia has received 2218 call outs, and attended more than 50 incidents. We are pleased to report that there have been no serious injuries or deaths on the motorway since it opened – a huge credit to the design of the road, the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) monitoring, and the coordinated effort between Ventia’s incident response teams and emergency services.

Brett Lockyer, Wellington District Response Capability Manager for Fire and Emergency New Zealand believes the design of the motorway is saving lives:

“Since Transmission Gully opened, we haven’t attended any events resulting in serious injury or death, largely because of the design of the motorway. The motorway has excellent water run-off, so there are fewer cars losing control in wet weather, and the median barriers are protecting vehicles from head-on collisions.”

contractors in hi-vest installing median barriers on a highway road

The Ventia team has repaired 1.2km of the median barriers that are critical for preventing head-on collisions.

In many instances, the CCTV cameras along the length of the motorway and interchanges have enabled the Transport Operations Centre team to pick up dangerous driving and take action such as alerting the police, implementing electronic signs to warn other drivers and/or dispatching a Ventia incident response vehicle to reduce the risk of a crash occurring.

For fire crews attending incidents on both the motorway and other roads throughout the region, Brett says the reliability of traffic flow on the Transmission Gully motorway has significantly improved response time and safety for fire crews attending events:

“With fire bases in Wellington, Porirua and on the Kāpiti Coast, we have found that Transmission Gully provides our fire crews with a faster and far more reliable route to attend incidents. Having to weave amongst blocked lanes on the old SH1 road prior to the opening of Transmission Gully was dangerous and often slow-going. The information provided by the Transmission Gully [Transport] Operations Centre from their cameras is also invaluable for us to pinpoint the exact location of the incident, and the number of response crews we need to send.”

In 2023, Fire and Emergency New Zealand and Ventia have planned further joint training to improve their ability to provide skilled and coordinated incident response.

firemen dowsing the flames of a truck fire on the highway road

Ventia are an integral part of the Emergency Services Coordination Team for the Wellington region. They attend regular meetings where FENZ, Police, Wellington Free Ambulance, Lifeline Utility, and District Health Boards debrief incident responses such as the truck fire pictured.

Businesses throughout the region are now able to be more time-efficient and responsive as they travel to clients, satellite offices and worksites. Precision Group Trade Solutions based in Porirua, for example, provides trade services to Kāinga Ora, iwi housing as well as small businesses and families throughout the region. Managing Director, Jonny Wassink said the motorway allowed their tradespersons to get to critical jobs throughout the region:

“Without Transmission Gully motorway, the closure of SH59 during the winter storms last year would have made it difficult for our tradespeople to get to many of our customers. At a time when many people experienced damage from the storms, the motorway allowed us to provide timely emergency repair services to our communities, as well as continue with our other scheduled work uninterrupted. The reduced time accessing the Kāpiti Coast and Hutt Valley has reduced transport costs and travel time for our employees getting to and from sites."

Similarly, the motorway has also reduced travel time for trades training organisation, Te Pūkenga - BCITO: “Our training advisors say Transmission Gully is great, as it cuts travel time down significantly when visiting clients across the Kāpiti Coast, Porirua, Hutt Valley, and wider Wellington region,” said Daniel Farani, the Area Manager for the Te Porokaki Region (Porirua/Kāpiti/Taranaki).

There are a significant number of people who live on the Kāpiti Coast and commute to Wellington. Skee Joseph, a Waikanae-based recruitment consultant who works in Wellington a couple of days a week, explains why Transmission Gully motorway is giving her greater peace of mind when it comes to being able get back for her kids if needed:

Skee Joseph

Skee Joseph

“Transmission Gully provided a much more convenient and time-saving option for me travelling to and from Kāpiti. As a working parent, knowing that I could be about 35-40 minutes away to the kids’ school is such a relief. I used to dread the calls from the school when kids were unwell, and I felt that I couldn’t be there quick enough. It has also made family outings easier, whether it is a show during the weeknights in Wellington CBD or catching up with family friends in the Hutt during the weekend. When the slip between Paekākāriki and Pukerua Bay happened due to heavy rain, my husband and I often said to each other ‘imagine if there was still no Transmission Gully?! It would have made our trips home ‘mission impossible’.”

Thank you to everyone who have contributed their stories and opinions to this newsletter, these, along with other feedback we have received since opening, are testament to the fact that the Transmission Gully motorway is connecting communities and families, while providing safe and reliable journeys for emergency services, commuters and businesses alike.