From today, the public will get the chance to get a closer look at the NZ Transport Agency's proposals to untangle transport around the Basin Reserve with a new bridge.
NZTA Wellington state highways manager Rod James says the NZTA is sharing further details of the design of the proposed bridge and surrounding space in a series of public information days being held this evening, Saturday and Sunday. The information days will give the public the opportunity to chat face to face with the project team, and to develop a clearer understanding of the proposals and the process from here.
“We encourage people to come along and chat to us to learn more about what we're proposing, and how the proposed bridge will fit with the surrounding environment.
“The Basin is the key transport hub between the southern and eastern suburbs and the CBD, and the current congestion in this area affects the whole Wellington transport system. There's too much traffic, wanting to travel in different directions all in the same space, and this creates a constant conflict that jams up one of Wellington’s busiest intersections.
“The Basin needs to cater for pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and public transport users, and right now, it’s not doing a good enough job in serving their needs. We need to provide a solution that caters for all transport choices, and the Basin Bridge will make real and positive improvements to everyone's journeys, regardless of how they choose to travel.
“Some of the greatest benefits from a new bridge will be for those using the routes under and around it. The proposed bridge will effectively remove westbound traffic flows that exit the Mt Victoria Tunnel to circulate around the Basin Reserve, and free up the major North/South public transport route.
“We've engaged some of the country's top architects and urban designers to design the bridge, the walking and cycling facilities, and the surrounding recreational space.”
Mr James says the bridge is designed to remove 13,000 vehicles a day from the busy streets around the Basin, which will improve safety for hundreds of school students, and also create a new pedestrian plaza outside the front gates of the Basin for fans to spill out of safely after events.
The bridge provides grade separation, a key aspect of the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor plan, the regional transport strategy which has been adopted by Greater Wellington, Wellington City Council and the NZTA. An important function of the bridge is to lift traffic out of the way of public transport services that operate between the CBD and the southern suburbs. This will not only improve bus travel times and reliability, but will help to pave the way for a dedicated public transport spine to be implemented in the future.
The NZTA are working with Wellington City Council, which owns the Basin Reserve, and the Basin Reserve Trust to develop a facility to be located on the northern boundary of the Basin Reserve. The facility will screen the view of the bridge for batsmen while also meshing with the character of the ground.
“We are currently working with the Trust and Council on the design of the facility, and we look forward to reaching a final resolution in the near future” Mr James said.
Mr James says the NZTA is now preparing to lodge resource consents early next year. The public will then have the opportunity to provide submissions as part of the consenting process.
The information days will be held at Mt Cook School on 22 November between 4 and 8pm or at St Joseph’s Church on 24 and 25 November between 1 and 5pm.
People seeking further information are encouraged to contact the NZTA’s project team on 0800 9484 4636, email email@example.com, or to visit www.nzta.govt.nz/basin-bridge.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What problem will the Basin Bridge help to fix?
There's too much traffic around the Basin, all wanting to go in different directions, in too little space, and this is causing problems for buses, cars, walkers and cyclists.
How does the Basin Bridge address this problem?
A bridge removes 13,000 vehicles from circulating around the Basin Reserve roundabout every day, freeing it up for local traffic, public transport, and pedestrians and cyclists.
How does it improve walking and cycling?
Entirely new facilities will be created, including public open space and a dedicated pathway on the bridge for cyclists and walkers, and also removes thousands of vehicles every day from around the Basin, making it easier and safer for people to get around the Basin Reserve.
How does it improve public transport?
By lifting 13,000 vehicles a day out of the way of public transport, it will improve journey times for of buses, and free up road space to enable a dedicated public transport spine between the CBD and Netown to be implemented.
What about Option X?
Option X is not considered a practical solution as it would require between 8 and 10 traffic lanes outside the Basin Reserve northern front entrance, a swathe of property on Sussex and Rugby St, a longer, deeper tunnel at Buckle Street, and would force pedestrians and cyclists to climb a four storey overbridge. It would also deliver inferior transport benefits compared to the Basin Bridge.
What about a long tunnel from Taranaki Street to Paterson Street?
It was not considered practical or affordable to build a steep, V shaped tunnel through swampy ground that lies below the water table, and a bridge would be more seismically resilient in the event of earthquakes. A tunnel portal located near the Basin and the existing Mt Victoria Tunnel would have urban design impacts.