Wellington’s population and economy will keep growing. As it does, the amount of people travelling to do business, go to school, access healthcare, go to work or generally enjoy the city will also grow. This means we need to make changes to our transport network to meet the future we expect.
While the basis of the transport improvements between Cobham Drive and Mt Victoria focus on improving SH1, the overall outcomes will generate benefits for the wider transport system beyond just roads. It’s about people, encouraging economic growth and productivity and ensuring that Wellington’s future aspirations can be realised. In order to meet these outcomes we need to connect people to the things that matter to them and make Wellington an attractive place to live, visit and do business.
Unless changes are made, increased traffic created by population growth and planned developments will progressively affect how SH1, and the surrounding local road transport network, will operate and connect people. This means SH1 needs to be made more efficient and offer more capacity to ensure public transport is more reliable and effective, walking and cycling is more appealing and travel to, from and through the city meets the needs of personal, business and freight traffic.
These outcomes are part of the Wellington Regional Land Transport Strategy, and the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan in particular, which seek to deliver a multi-modal approach to improving the city’s transport network. One of the Corridor Plan’s key goals is to create a transport system where public transport, walking and cycling take priority along certain key roads in Wellington city. To achieve this, the Corridor Plan identifies changes to SH1 to attract drivers away from our critical local roads, enabling them to be more efficient and effective for the city’s public transport, walking and cycling networks, and allowing Wellington City Council to develop its growth plans.
The 'Tunnel to Tunnel' project of Buckle Street Underpass, Inner City Bypass Improvements and the Basin Bridge, plays a vital first step in achieving the goals of the Corridor Plan. It unclogs the key bottleneck problems at the Basin Reserve by separating north-south from east-west travel and improves the road network between the Mt Victoria and Terrace Tunnels. It is also vital in helping to improve traffic flow to and from the eastern suburbs, particularly for traffic heading to the city. If the issues at the Basin Reserve are not resolved, then city-bound traffic delays we experience today through the existing tunnel, along Ruahine Street and Wellington Road will get worse. The flow-on effect is that future public transport proposals will be stymied because traffic flow is stalled at the Basin Reserve’s key intersections of Paterson/Dufferin streets as well as Dufferin Street/Adelaide Road.