Project announcements set to overhaul Wellington's transport system

‘Let’s Get Wellington Moving' and the Petone-Ngauranga shared cycle/walkway

On 16 May 2019, an indicative package of transport improvement projects for Wellington was announced.   That indicative package, known as the ‘Let’s Get Wellington Moving' project, has received the high-level endorsement of central government (in that the Government has confirmed that it will support the $6.4 billion budget for the package).  However, it is yet to be formally considered or endorsed for funding by the NZ Transport Agency, Wellington City Council or Greater Wellington Regional Council and business cases for the various projects in the package have not yet been approved.

The indicative Let’s Get Wellington Moving package provides for:

  • a focus on the CBD and movements to the south and west, including the proposed provision of mass transit first to Newtown (probably via Adelaide Road past Wellington Regional Hospital) and then to the Airport (probably via Kilbirnie) and planned short-term and then longer-term improvements at the Basin Reserve;
  • a second tunnel through Mount Victoria and widening of Ruahine Street/Wellington Road (on the Haitaitai/Kilbirnie side of Mt Victoria);
  • a new State Highway tunnel under Te Aro (in both directions on the inner-city bypass alignment) and removing State Highway traffic from Vivian Street and Kent/Cambridge Terraces;
  • improving public transport priority and capacity on “core routes into the city” and “increased rail network capacity”;
  • bus priority improvements, and improvements to walking and cycling along the ‘Golden Mile’ (in the centre of the CBD), the Hutt Road and Thorndon Quay, Mt Victoria, Te Aro and Cobham Drive; and
  • relocating through-traffic out of the central city, and away from other routes currently heavily used by through-traffic such as Evans Bay Parade and Constable Street, to the State Highway.

A high-level diagram of what is proposed is reproduced below.

It is proposed that the mass transit system would provide high-frequency services (every 10 minutes or less) using dedicated lanes and high capacity electric vehicles.   Whether it would be a light-rail system or use an alternative ‘trackless’ system is yet to be determined.

It is proposed that improvements to the Basin Reserve would occur in two-parts:

  • The first part would involve changes to the road layout at ground level. However, the design for those works cannot be determined until it is confirmed whether a new tunnel will be built on the Basin Reserve side of the inner city bypass alignment.
  • In the longer term, it is accepted that east-west and north-south traffic through the Basin Reserve will need to be separated. However, no plans have yet been released as to how that separation would be achieved.

Linking with planned safer biking links through Thorndon Quay is the proposed designs for a shared cycle/walkway along the seaward side of State Highway 2 between the Hutt Valley and the city. Released for comment last week, feedback on the cycle/walkway designs closes at 5 pm on Friday, 21 June 2019.

As the specific projects are developed there will be many more opportunities for the public to contribute to the various debates.  We will be keeping abreast of further updates and will be sharing our views and comments on the projects.

If you have any questions regarding these proposals, please contact one of our experts.

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