If you travel to Wellington regularly, you would have noticed the construction alongside State Highway 2, the motorway which connects the Hutt Valley to the capital.

Expected to be complete in 2026, it is a more than $300 million project called Te Ara Tupua, which will create a 4.5km walking and cycling link between Wellington and the Hutt Valley.

“This has been talked about for 80 to 100 years, and people have been waiting for it for a very long time,” Hutt South MP Chris Bishop said.

The NZTA estimates that by 2030, people will be making more than 2100 trips by bike on the path each weekday, as well as 360 walking or running trips and around 290 trips on e-scooters or similar devices.

“It’s a very dangerous section to cycle at the moment,” Bishop said.

Part of the project involves future-proofing the infrastructure to be resilient in the face of climate change. It’s estimated that 144,000 tonnes of rock will be needed to complete the project.

In 2013, the infrastructure was damaged by severe weather and the rail line was washed out, causing days of travel disruption.

“It’s really important that the resilience of the existing networks, the rail and the road, is protected,” Transport Minister Simeon Brown said.

Hutt South MP Chris Bishop and Transport Minister Simeon Brown checked out work on the Te Ara Tupua project today.

Te Ara Tupua will deliver a new resilient coastal edge with seawalls and embankments, helping to protect the road and rail lines from storms.

There’s also work happening under the water, as resource consent conditions require projects to improve habitat and water quality to compensate for the environmental impact of land reclamation into the harbour.

Fifty-four engineered pyramid units will be submerged in May. The units are designed to attract and accommodate fish while providing a surface for marine plants and shellfish to grow.

The project will create a 4.5km walking and cycling link between Wellington and the Hutt Valley.

“It’s costing over 10 million bucks to do some underwater fish pyramids, which I think, from my perspective, you know, some consent conditions that are being proposed are adding unnecessary cost and those are the kind of things we’ll be looking at through fast-track consenting,” Brown said.

Two offshore habitats for coastal birds have already been completed, offering a place for them to roost and forage, clear of construction activity.