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Project introduction

The Nelson Future Access Project will develop a detailed investment programme for a multimodal transport system in Nelson, focusing on the transport network between Annesbrook Drive and QEII Drive.

  • Project type

    Road improvements
  • Project status


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To develop a detailed investment programme for a multi-modal transport system that supports community aspirations for a thriving CBD; a world-class waterfront; and a safe, accessible and resilient transport system that will meet the diverse needs of customers and communities. In particular, the programme should seek to:

  • Identify customer needs and growth pressures in the study area.
  • Define the existing and future function of key transport corridors (for all modes) in the study area.
  • To deliver a safe, accessible and resilient network that recognises Nelson City Council’s goals, the needs of customers and the wider community.
  • Make best use of existing infrastructure and services as well as new/emerging technologies.
  • Ensure integration of land use and transport systems to reduce the dependency on private single occupancy motor vehicles.
  • Investigate and identify a package of measures that could be progressed on SH6 Rocks Road in the short to medium term, enhancing walking and cycling and supporting NCC’s vision for a world class waterfront.
  • Investigate and make recommendations in respect of the key journeys between Nelson City’s CBD, Waterfront, Airport, Port and Richmond. To resolve long-standing uncertainty about the Nelson Southern Link, it will include the need and potential timing for an alternative arterial route to Rocks Road and Waimea Road.


The concept of improving access through Nelson has a long history, and over the past 30 years there have been many suggestions for improving travel in Nelson. Some state highway improvements have already been made - including the construction of QEII Drive to the north and Whakatu Drive to the south.

Ensuring an efficient and reliable transport network is not only vital to Nelson’s export-led economy, but to improving community access to Nelson’s environment and amenities.

The most recent pieces of work include the application for a Southern Link Road in 2000 and 2004, the North Nelson to Brightwater Corridor Strategic Study in 2007 and the Nelson Arterial Traffic Study in 2010 - 2011.

In 2014 the Government asked us to investigate the Nelson Southern Link route as part of its Accelerated Regional Roading Package(external link) for state highways. The package identified regionally important projects that would address economic efficiency, safety and resilience issues.

All this past work has provided a valuable basis for the current investigation, which will help develop transport proposals to provide for Nelson’s current and future transport needs. The state highway is crucial for primary industry and export trade growth in the region, particularly as there is no regional rail network to use as an alternative transport solution.

The Nelson Southern Link Investment Programme Business Case (including Rocks Road Walking and Cycling options) was adopted by the NZ Transport Agency in June 2017, and the 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme includes funding allocation to enable the investigations, including a detailed business case, over the next three years.