Project introduction

The Nelson Future Access Project is the investigation of a future-proofed transport system considering the needs of all users travelling within Nelson.

  • Project type

    Road improvements
  • Project status


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Thank you

Thank you to the many Nelson residents who have provided feedback on this project.

View engagement report 2021 [PDF, 3 MB]

View engagement report 2020 [PDF, 3.5 MB]

Other key documents


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 to enhance walking and cycling and supporting Nelson City Council’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.

Funding became available in 2018 to enable detailed investigations into the transport network, including a detailed business case to help plan a transport system that works for everyone.

The specific project area is bounded by SH6 to the north and east, Rutherford Road/Waimea Road to the south and extending as far south as the Annesbrook Drive roundabout.  However, there is a far bigger area of influence for this project, extending beyond Richmond to the south and west, and Atawhai to the north.

The improvements being proposed take account of changes in housing density and are designed to work in tandem with transport-related improvements proposed by Nelson City Council, including improvements to bus services.


In April 2019, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency appointed engineering consultancy AECOM to produce a detailed business case for the Nelson Future Access project. The programme scope includes fast-tracking work to identify whether any walking and cycling enhancements can be delivered within the Rocks Road area in the short to medium term.

The investigation will be completed before the end of 2021.