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The proposals outlined below highlight our plans for the road network between Cobham Drive and Mt Victoria.

On this page

Duplicating the tunnel

This area of the project relates to the second Mt Victoria Tunnel, and to the key changes on Paterson Street.

Issues

The existing 625m Mt Victoria Tunnel, built in 1931, carries nearly 40,000 vehicles (about 20,000 in either direction) every day along two narrow lanes. It is currently operating at or above its capacity, and as a consequence traffic delays and congestion occur, particularly at peak weekday and weekend periods. The traffic merge at the City-end of the tunnel for traffic heading towards the Airport is particularly problematic and pedestrians and cyclists have expressed concerns about comfort and safety when using the existing facilities through the tunnel.

What we propose

  • A second tunnel roughly 14m wide, 650m long, and located about 25m to the immediate north (towards the harbour) of the existing tunnel, and will be operated with a 50km/h speed limit

  • The tunnel will cater for two eastbound (towards the Airport) traffic lanes with the existing tunnel upgraded for city-bound traffic use only

  • A 3m wide pedestrian/cycle facility, located above the road, will physically separate pedestrians and cyclists from passing vehicles. This replaces the current tunnel’s path, which will be removed once the new tunnel has been constructed

  • The northern side of Paterson Street (the road leading up to Austin Street) will be widened to provide two lanes leading into the tunnel. The entrance to the tunnel will be located about 50m west of Austin Street

  • A 3m wide pedestrian/cycle path will connect the tunnel pedestrian/cycle facility with the pedestrian/cycle paths on the Basin Bridge and through to the National War Memorial Park

  • New emergency exits (cross passages) between the new and existing tunnel will be provided, which will also help improve the fire life safety standard of the existing tunnel.

Changes from 2011 public consultation

In response to our question in 2011 on the design of the pedestrian/cycle facilities in the second tunnel, most submitters told us that they preferred to be fully separated from road vehicles. As such, we are providing this separation. Concern was also raised about removing some of the houses on Paterson Street, so we are realigning the pedestrian/cycle facility from the new tunnel to avoid removing these houses.

Changes from June 2013

Mt Victoria open space and shared path: We are now proposing to realign the shared pedestrian and cycle path on Paterson Street so it connects directly with the Basin Bridge shared path. We are still working on our plans for the proposed open space and how pedestrians and cyclists will connect with Brougham Street through this space as well as proposals to relocate some existing buildings within the open space.

Austin Street: We are continuing to work with Wellington City Council and Wellington East Girls’ College on the layout of Austin Street and entrance to the school. We also want to ensure the space is usable for local road users and nearby residents.

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Taurima Street and the Haitaitai link

This area covers the changes to Hataitai Village access to and from SH1, in particular changes at Taurima Street.

Issues

The existing exit from the tunnel to Hataitai Village works relatively well at present. However, the right-turn from Taurima Street on to SH1 is unsafe and causes congestion on the local road network at peak travelling times.

What we propose

  • Traffic coming out of the new tunnel will be able to turn left on to Taurima Street from SH1 to access Hataitai Village (as can be done today)

  • There will be no right hand turn from Taurima Street on to SH1 for traffic heading to the city from Hataitai Village (as can be done today)

  • The Taurima Street/Moxham Avenue intersection will be upgraded, which may include traffic signals with pedestrian phases

  • The pedestrian/cycle path in the new tunnel will connect with a new shared pedestrian/cycle facility along Taurima Street

  • A pedestrian overbridge (similar to the one that exists today) will safely connect pedestrians between Hataitai Village and Hataitai Park/Town Belt.

  • Traffic that currently uses Taurima Street to head to the City will use the upgraded intersections at Goa/Ruahine Streets and Goa Street/Moxham Avenue. Proposed property access arrangements on Taurima Street (south side) will change with access now from Moxham Avenue.

Changes from 2011 public consultation

Some submitters were concerned about how pedestrians and cyclists would cross Taurima Street. We considered an overhead bridge over Taurima Street, but ruled it out because of its visual effects and high construction costs. Instead, pedestrian access is likely to be via the traffic signals that we are considering on Moxham Avenue.

Changes from June 2013

Taurima Street: We are still working on how to best provide access between the shared pedestrian and cycle path in the new duplicate tunnel and the shared path along Ruahine Street. We are also working with local businesses about possible changes to their access. This affects what we could do along Taurima Street.

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Ruahine Street and the Town Belt link

This section covers the key changes along Ruahine Street (SH1), particularly the changes at its intersection with Goa Street.

Issues

Ruahine Street currently provides one lane of traffic in either direction and is regularly congested. A number of private driveways are accessed from the road, which create delays and safety issues. The Goa Street intersection is also regularly congested, particularly at weekends because it provides access to private properties, Hataitai Park and alternative access to Hataitai Village.

Pedestrians and cyclists share limited space on a narrow footpath and there is no safe or controlled crossing for these users at the Goa Street intersection.

What we propose

  • The intersection of Goa/Ruahine Streets will be upgraded, and traffic signals installed with specific pedestrian crossing phases included

  • Traffic heading towards the Airport on Ruahine Street will not be able to turn left into Goa Street, while traffic heading towards the City will not be able to turn right into Goa Street

  • The intersection of Goa Street/Moxham Avenue will be upgraded and may include traffic signals

  • A 4m wide shared pedestrian/cycle/slow vehicle lane will be provided separately on the Hataitai Village (eastern) side of Ruahine Street, providing access to properties as well as accommodating pedestrians/cyclists.

Changes from 2011 public consultation

Some submitters were concerned about the impact on the Town Belt, so a key change has been to reduce the “footprint” size of Ruahine Street, and the Goa Street/Ruahine Street intersection in particular. This means we will need less land from the Town Belt than we first thought. It also means that Badminton Hall will now be only partially affected, and could be retained in its current location.

Changes from June 2013

Badminton Hall access: We are considering how people using Badminton Hall connect with Hataitai Park and Ruahine Street. This includes discussions with Wellington City Council, Badminton Hall and Park users.

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Wellington Road and a new Wellington southern gateway

This section covers the area of Wellington Road (SH1) from the intersection with Ruahine Street through to its connection to Cobham Drive. It also includes the key intersections of Wellington Road with Ruahine Street, Kilbirnie Crescent and Evans Bay Parade and how this package of proposals combines to create a new, landscaped southern gateway to the city.

Issues

This part of the highway is heavily congested and safety is an issue. A key problem is the capacity of the intersections due to the number of vehicles using them at peak travelling times.

Safety on the corner of Ruahine Street and Wellington Road is a concern as this intersection has a high crash record. While changes have been made to improve safety, issues remain because of the sharp corner and the variety of different vehicle movements that this intersection needs to allow for (for example, the right hand turn from the (local) Wellington Road onto SH1 to head to the Airport can be difficult at peak travelling times).

Access to private properties along Wellington Road and connections from side roads like Moxham Avenue and Walmer Street also create issues. This is particularly evident when vehicles are turning right either to or from Wellington Road as there’s limited visibility and space to enter or leave the highway.

For cyclists, there’s no dedicated path along Wellington Road and therefore no direct connection for both pedestrians and cyclists to access the shared facilities on Cobham Drive.

What we propose

  • Wellington Road will be widened to six lanes with a 50km/h speed limit and the Wellington Road/Ruahine Street intersection will be upgraded to include traffic signals, allowing for all turning movements

  • A 6m wide shared service lane will be provided on the northern side of Wellington Road, which will close the Moxham Avenue and Walmer Street intersections with SH1

  • Properties along the northern side of Wellington Road and along Walmer Street will be accessed from the shared pedestrian/cycle/slow vehicle lane

  • Creating a “green link” link between the Town Belt and Kilbirne Park after the properties on the eastern (Kilbirnie) side of Wellington Road have been removed.

Changes from 2011 public consultation

Some submitters were concerned about the impact on the Town Belt, so a key change has been to reduce the “footprint” size of Ruahine Street, and the Wellington Road/Ruahine Street intersection in particular. This will mean we will need less land from the Town Belt than we first thought and the look of the “cut” into the hill near Badminton Hall will be reduced.

Changes from June 2013

Wellington Road ‘green link’: We are refining our proposals for the proposed new green space created by the project alongside Wellington Road, including understanding what this may mean for adjacent residents. One possibility is to provide a ‘green link’ connecting the Hataitai Park with Kilbirnie Park.

Kilbirnie Park: We are discussing options and looking at how the Duplication Project will affect Wellington City Council and the sports groups that use Kilbirnie Park.

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The shared lane – walking, cycling and private property access

Walking and cycling

Facilities for pedestrians and cyclists will be improved significantly following our improvements.

A dedicated pedestrian and cycle path through the tunnel will replace the existing 1.5m facility, while a shared pedestrian/cycle/slow vehicle lane will be provided along Ruahine Street and Wellington Road.

The improvements proposed for the Mt Victoria Tunnel Duplication project combined with our Tunnel to Tunnel improvements will create a continuous and safe walking and cycling link between the National War Memorial Park and the Basin Bridge, through to Cobham Drive.

Along Ruahine Street the form of the shared path changes to accommodate private, but slow, vehicle access. The path is generally narrower where it provides travel for pedestrians and cyclists only and wider where it becomes a shared pedestrian/cycle and slow vehicle lane for private access. At its narrowest, the path is roughly 4m wide along Ruahine Street, while along Wellington Road a 6m wide pedestrian/cycle/slow vehicle lane has been allowed for.

We believe the new facilities are likely to encourage more people to walk or cycle in the area or through to the city. Some of our work suggests there could be as many as 500 new pedestrians and over 600 new cyclists or more once the SH1 improvements are in place. This directly supports our goal of improving the City’s overall transport network.

Overall, the Duplication Project offers an opportunity to significantly improve walking and cycling facilities between the eastern suburbs and Wellington CBD.

Property access changes

Property access changes relate to properties adjacent to SH1, specifically on Ruahine, Goa and Walmer Streets and Wellington Road. These properties will no longer have direct access to the road network. Instead access will be via the shared pedestrian/cycle/slow vehicle lane or alternative access arrangements.

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Public transport

The existing public transport corridor will remain through the existing Mt Victoria bus tunnel and along Moxham Avenue, Hamilton Road and Kilbirnie Crescent. We have been investigating how to best accommodate bus lanes along Ruahine Street and Wellington Road as part of the Public Transport Spine Study.   If bus lanes are progressed as a result of the Spine Study, they would operate along a widened corridor.  These bus lanes would be in addition to what we had proposed previously for general traffic (ie two lanes in either direction). The additional widening will not affect the proposed shared walking, cycling and slow vehicle lane, but will encroach further into Hataitai Park.

Public Transport Spine Study Update

We have been working with our partners, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Wellington City Council, on the Spine Study. In June, the Regional Transport Committee announced its preferred option was Bus Rapid Transit, and one of its preferred public transport corridors was between the CBD and Kilbirnie.

Public hearings on the Spine Study findings ended in early December and we expect the Regional Transport Committee to make some decisions about the Study in early 2014.

In the meantime, we and our partners have been considering how to best accommodate a bus-based public transport system within the State Highway corridor on Ruahine Street and Wellington Road. We have chosen to do this planning work now so we understand how the Study could affect the Assessment of Environmental Effects we are preparing for our RMA applications. This ensures we remain on track to lodge our applications in the middle of next year.

A potential light rail system is not included in our specific plans for the route along the Ruahine Street and Wellington Road corridor because it would be based on its own corridor (not on the state highway).

We will be able to provide you with an update on our designs and plans for public transport on Ruahine Street and Wellington Road at our open days.

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Connecting with the Basin Bridge Project

Some people have been asking us how the Duplication Project connects with the proposed Basin Bridge. We hope the following information helps to answer this question.

The Basin Bridge will improve traffic heading towards the Terrace Tunnel (westbound) by removing the bottleneck at the Basin Reserve. Removing this bottleneck is our first priority.

As part of the Duplication Project, the existing Mt Victoria Tunnel will be converted into two westbound traffic lanes that connect with the Basin Bridge. This will further improve westbound traffic movements. The existing pedestrian and cycle lane transfers to the new tunnel, connecting with proposed Basin Bridge facilities at Paterson Street.

The new duplicate tunnel improves travel for eastbound traffic heading towards the eastern suburbs and the airport. This is supported by the Tunnel to Tunnel Project, which the Basin Bridge is a part of. It improves eastbound traffic movements along Vivian Street between the Terrace Tunnel and Mt Victoria Tunnel.

Once both the Tunnel to Tunnel and Duplication Projects are completed, all westbound, eastbound, northbound and southbound traffic movements will be significantly improved.

Widening Ruahine Street and Wellington Road will also improve traffic flow in both directions.

The Tunnel to Tunnel Project is scheduled to be completed in 2017, and the Duplication Project is scheduled to be completed by 2022.