A Motorway Bridge for Stokes Valley?

This aerial shot (taken September 2002) shows just how close the entrance to Stokes Valley is to Ford Road, which already bisects the Manor Park Golf Course. It helps demonstrate just how little would be needed to give Stokes Valley residents direct access to the motorway.

See also December Editorial.

The Robson Street Action Group has called for a bridge across the Hutt River at the entrance of Stokes Valley. Spokesperson Steve Ritchie says that the Regional Council is considering spending $7 million upgrading the Silverstream Bridge, why not spend that money for a bridge for Stokes Valley?

The Regional Council's $7 million Hutt Corridor Plan includes increasing the Silverstream Bridge from two lanes to four. Juno Construction of Stokes Valley say a new bridge across the valley at the Valley Mouth would cost in the area of $5.5 Million possibly relieveing the need for extra lanes on the Silverstream bridge at the same time.

It has long been thought that the Manor Park Golf Course was a barrier to a bridge, however investigation reveals that the golf course is using Crown land, Regional Council land, and Water Board land, and has been doing so for the last 50 years, some of it apparently rent free.

On paper (see picture right) Ford Road continues beyond its current boundary straight across the golf course, through the river and onto the Stokes Valley side as far as the roundabout at the entrance. "We already have a road we just want it back," Steve Ritchie said.

Not only will the 10,000 people of Stokes Valley benefit from direct access to a new major intersection about to be created at the bottom of the Haywards. "Stokes Valley retailers are also likely to benefit from people not having to go near the Hutt to get to Stokes Valley and are more likely to go straight into the Valley for their shopping when commuting," Mr Ritchie said. Taita and Pomare residents would also benefit by a significant traffic reduction, especially down Taita Drive.

Residents' Views

Stokes Valley News has canvassed local Residents and Business People for their comments. Locals believe there would be a number of advantages in having a second bridge.

Ross Cook owner of Ross Cook Amcal Pharmacy: "I fully support the idea. It would make the valley far mare accessible as well as add additional safety in the event of flood or an earthquake."
Cr Julie Englebretsen: "As a Stokes Valley resident of nearly ten years I would like to "put some of my weight" behind Steve Ritchie's suggestion for a bridge across the Hutt River near Stokes Valley. I have felt frustrated at the present access to the motorway, either heading north to connect when you want to go south, or having to head south through housing that is densely populated with families and a speed trap which is a danger to children."
Peter Anderson owner operator of Stokes Valley New World: "It's the next logical step in the development and evolution of the valley. Stokes Valley is probably the most disadvantaged suburb in the greater Wellington region in terms access to the Motorway rail and bus services."
Michael Satur from Scott Court Dental Centre: " A bridge would be a great asset for Stokes Valley."
Pat Bennett from Leaders Real Estate (Stokes Valley): "We would have much greater access to commuter services and the rest of the Wellington district. Also in the event of a major disaster having two bridges would be better. A new one would also be more likely to handle a major event like that."
Don Flowers owner of GC Motors: "I fully support the Idea of a bridge for Stokes Valley. I have known of the existence of a paper road across the valley since moving here. However, I can't see it happening until there is something in it for the local councillors. Perhaps we should consider calling it the Terris Bridge?"
Lindsay Brough Deputy Principal of Naenae Intermediate and long time Tui Glen Resident: "It's ridiculous to have to drive around that golf course all the time. Lets face it with a bridge at the entrance of the valley, any golfers inconvenienced will find access to New Judgeford will be a easier and shorter trip."
Darryn Plows Mcmanaway Grove resident: "I have no idea why we have had to wait so long for the prospect of a bridge. It is a logical move and should certainly be built before the Silverstream Bridge is upgraded to four lanes."
Rosemarie Thomas Wellington Regional Councillor representing the Hutt: "I'd really encourage people to make submissions to the WRC Land Transport Committee, that will be sitting shortly. I personally fully support a bridge being built at Stokes Valley and will be doing what I can to see it comes about."

Click here for two Council-sourced aerial photographs demonstrating the close proximity of Ford Rd to the entrance to Stokes Valley. These include marked road boundaries (133Kb in total).