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The Memorial Park project (August 2012)

What’s happening at Memorial Park?

The Buckle Street section of SH1 (between Tory and Taranaki Streets) will be put underground to enable a new, unified memorial precinct at the New Zealand War Memorial.

The NZ Transport Agency will put the road in a ‘cut and cover’ structure. ‘Cut and cover’ means that the road will be put into a trench and then be roofed over with an overhead support system. The Park will be built on top, and the road safely integrated back into the surrounding road network.

What is the timeframe for this project?

Preparatory works such as geotechnical and archaeological investigations and the relocation of services are already underway. Temporary relocation of Buckle Street will begin in October 2012, and work to put Buckle Street underground will start in the first quarter of 2013.

The project will take approximately two years and will be complete in time for the Anzac Gallipoli Centenary remembrance events in April 2015.

Who is responsible for what in this project?

NZTA is responsible for putting the road underground to enable the Park while MCH is responsible for the park design, construction, operation, management and maintenance.

Why is the project just starting now?

The NZTA is tasked with delivering the government’s transport priorities, and funding to undertake this work has only now been made available by Government. The NZTA is confident that we will be able to complete the Buckle Street Underpass by the end of 2014, to enable the landscaping of the Park to be finished by April 2015.

What happened to the proposal to retain Buckle Street at-grade?

Shifting the road would have offered some benefits to the memorial precinct, however putting Buckle Street underground is seen as a preferable solution from an urban amenity perspective, as it will reduce the conflict between traffic using State Highway 1 and visitors to the National War Memorial.

How will the new layout of Buckle Street physically link in with the Basin Reserve Transport Improvements?

Both Options A and B were designed to fully integrate with any proposal to underground Buckle Street at the National War Memorial Park, should funding become available to do so.

Anzac Day 2015

Why does this work have to be done by late 2014?

Putting Buckle Street underground is the first part of constructing Memorial Park. This work needs to be finished by late 2014 to enable the Park’s landscaping to be completed in time for the commemoration of centenary of the Gallipoli landings on Anzac Day 2015. This day will be the peak of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage’s (MCH) First World War centenary commemorations for Australia and New Zealand.

On this day, the public will gather in Memorial Park for the Anzac Day service at the National War Memorial. It is important that New Zealanders can commemorate the Gallipoli anniversary in a place that appropriately symbolises the sacrifices the 250,000 New Zealanders who have served in the armed forces and the 30,000 who have died.

For more information about the World War One centenary commemorations, please visit the Ministry of Culture and Heritage(external link).

Effects on traffic during construction

If you travel through the Terrace Tunnel and want to get to:

Wellington Hospital
No change.

Massey University
To get to Massey, you’ll need to use Rugby Street and then onto Tasman.
For Entrance E, turn left onto Tasman.
For Entrance D, turn right onto Tasman and then use the service lane which follows roughly along the path of Buckle Street.
For Entrance A, turn right onto Tasman Street, through the service lane to Taranaki Street and turn left.

The CBD
If you don’t currently use Buckle Street, you won’t be affected. If you do use Buckle Street, you will have to use the Temporary Road instead.

The motorway to head north
The route will be the same, but you will be using the Temporary Road.

If you travel from the CBD and want to get to:

Wellington Hospital
For many people, there will be no change.
However, if you usually use Tory Street and Tasman Street, you’ll have to use either Taranaki Street or Kent Terrace and Adelaide Road.

Massey University
Entrance A: no change.
Entrance D: you’ll need to get onto Vivian Street and then Kent Terrace. You’ll travel around the Basin Reserve, go up Rugby Street, turn right onto Tasman Street and then onto the service lane which follows roughly along the path of Buckle Street.
Entrance E: you’ll need to get onto Vivian Street and then Kent Terrace.  You’ll travel around the Basin Reserve, go up Rugby Street and then turn left onto Tasman Street.

The motorway to head north
No change.

If you travel from the southern suburbs and want to get to:

Wellington Hospital
No change.

Massey University
Unless you need to get to Entrance D, you won’t need to change your route.
For Entrance D you will need to use Rugby Street, then the service lane that runs along Buckle Street.

The CBD
For many people there will be no change.
If you’re coming from Adelaide Road, you have a few options. You can use the state highway onto the temporary road, continue on to Willis Street and turn into the CBD. Alternatively follow round the Basin reserve and head up Cambridge Terrace or use Rugby Street and then Tasman Street to get into the CBD via Tory Street.

The motorway to head north
There is no change for the majority of users. If however, you use Tasman Street to access the motorway, you will have to use a short diversion on to Rugby Street, travel past the west side of the Basin and onto the temporary road.

If you travel from Massey University and want to get to:

Wellington Hospital
No change.

The CBD
From Entrance A:  no change.
From Entrance D:  use the service lane that follows roughly along the path of Buckle Street, turn left onto Taranaki Street and then right into Webb Street. From there you can turn right into Willis Street.
From Entrance E:  you’ll be diverted via Rugby Street around the west side of the Basin and then onto the temporary road.

The motorway to head north
From Entrance A:  no change.
From Entrance D:  use the service lane that follows roughly along the path of Buckle Street, turn left onto Taranaki Street and then right into Webb Street. From there you can turn right into Cuba or Willis Street and then left on to the Motorway.
From Entrance E:   you’ll be diverted via Rugby Street around the west side of the Basin and then onto the temporary road.

Effects on traffic once the park has been built

If you travel through the Terrace Tunnel and want to get to:

Wellington Hospital
No change.

Massey University
To get to Massey, you’ll need to use Rugby Street and then onto Tasman. 
For Entrance E, turn left onto Tasman. 
For Entrance D, turn right onto Tasman and then use the service lane which follows roughly along the path of Buckle Street. 
For Entrance A, turn right onto Tasman Street, through the service lane to Taranaki Street and turn left.  You can also get to Entrance A by using Adelaide Road, John Street and then Wallace / Taranaki Street.

The CBD
Most people won’t see a change. However, if you currently use Tory Street you’ll have to turn up Rugby Street and then right into Tasman Street.

The motorway to head north
Your route will be the same, but you’ll be using the new underpass.

If you travel from the CBD and want to get to:

Wellington Hospital
Once Tory and Tasman Streets are re-connected, everyone will be able to use their current routes.

Massey University
Entrance A:  no change.
Entrances D and E:  you’ll go back to your current routes once Tory and Tasman Streets are re-connected.

The motorway to head north
Most people won’t see a change. But if you currently use Tory Street to get onto the motorway, you’ll need to use either Taranaki Street or re-route using Vivian Street, Kent Terrace and around the Basin onto the underpass.

If you travel from the southern suburbs and want to get to:

Wellington Hospital
No change.

Massey University
Unless you’re using Entrance D, most of the entrances will go back to how they are today.
For Entrance D:  take Rugby Street and then the service lane that runs along the current route of Buckle Street.

The CBD
Most people won’t see a change.
But if  you currently use Buckle Street and turn right into Taranaki Street, you’ll need to either continue around the Basin Reserve and up Kent Terrace, or go through the underpass, across Taranaki Street (you will not be able to turn right here) and then turn down Willis Street.

The motorway to head north
No change.

If you travel from Massey University and want to get to:

Wellington Hospital
No change.

The CBD
From Entrance A:  no change.
From Entrance E:  use Rugby Street to go around the west side of the Basin and then either continue up Cambridge Terrace or use the underpass and turn down Willis Street.
From Entrance D:  use the service lane which follows on the existing route of Buckle Street, turn left onto Taranaki Street and then right into Webb Street. From there turn right into Cuba Street or Willis Street.

The motorway to head north
From Entrance A:  no change.
From Entrance E:  use Rugby Street to go around the west side of the Basin and then onto the underpass.
From Entrance D:  use the service lane which follows on the existing route of Buckle Street, turn left onto Taranaki Street and then right into Webb Street.  From there turn right into Cuba Street or Willis Street then left on to the Motorway.

The Temporary Road

Where will the temporary road be?

The temporary road will start at Sussex Street on the Basin Reserve and be back on the alignment of State Highway 1 by the time it reaches Taranaki Street. It will be on the north side of the Memorial Park to give sufficient space to efficiently build the tunnel. Once Buckle Street is underground, this road will be removed and the land will be incorporated into the park.

The Buckle Street trench is about 150m long, starting on the Basin Reserve side of Tory Street and extending to a point roughly 75m to the east of Taranaki Street.  The connection from Tory Street to Tasman Street will be severed during construction, and the link from the Basin Reserve (Sussex Street) to Buckle Street will also be removed.  Pedestrian access will be maintained, and Tasman Street can be accessed from Rugby Street.

Once the tunnel is open, Tasman Street will be re-connected to Tory Street.

A link road will be built which will maintain access to the Mt Cook Barracks, Massey, the National War Memorial and the Defence buildings.  This road is meant for access to these sites and will only carry a small proportion of the through traffic currently using Buckle Street.

How will the Transport Agency mitigate the effects of the temporary road, particularly on the schoolchildren and staff of Mt Cook School?

Putting Buckle Street underground won’t really change its current location, and once Memorial Park is complete, Mt Cook schoolchildren will have greatly improved safety when crossing and much more green space.  But in order to build the Park, we’ll need to construct a temporary road on the northern side of the Memorial Park Site, about 15m outside of Mt Cook School. This road will carry the State Highway traffic for the approximately two years it will take to complete this project, and we are working closely with the school to make this transition period as easy as possible.

Between the traffic and the school boundary there will be a footpath, access road and off-street parking (for safe drop-offs and pick-ups). We will build a 3m high fence at the boundary with the school and a short length of 2.5m high fence to the west of the crèche, to ensure that noise levels do not change as a result of the temporary road.

We’re also putting in a new signalised intersection between the State Highway and Tory Street, to allow the school children to cross the road safely, and footpaths will be built on the northern side of the temporary road to allow access back to Taranaki Street. A footpath will also be built on the southern side connecting Tory Street to Sussex Street.

What about air pollution for the school?

The Transport Agency undertook air quality modelling when we first looked at moving Buckle Street closer to the Mt Cook School, to determine any impacts of the school being closer to the road. This modelling measured key indicators such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and other hydrocarbons. The modelling showed no significant increases in the levels of any of these and was within the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality or Regional Council policies and guidelines.

Building the underpass will also mean digging a trench for the road, then backfilling it to put the park on top. This work will all be done in line with the Ministry for the Environment’s guidelines for managing dust.

For example, the site will be watered regularly to keep dust down and reduce the likelihood that it will be blown around by the wind. During more extreme winds, work may need to stop at times, if dust is affecting sensitive areas such as the school or the surrounding houses. Dust levels will be closely monitored to ensure any nuisance is kept to a minimum.

Consultation

What kind of consultation process will accompany this project?

A number of interested parties have been consulted on Memorial Park and Buckle Street in the past 5–7 years, most recently in 2011 as part of the Transport Agency’s Cobham Drive to Buckle Street public engagement programme. We received strong feedback from the public that Buckle Street should be put underground.

The local school (Mt Cook Primary), local residents, Massey University, iwi (Wellington Tenths Trust), New Zealand Defence Force, Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association, the National War Memorial Advisory Council and Wellington City Council have all been consulted at various times.

The Transport Agency will engage with local stakeholders throughout the project, through letter drops, open days and advertising.

We will be releasing more information on how we will consult with the public soon.

Other questions

What additional transport benefits will undergrounding Buckle Street bring?

It will create new green space, making walking and cycling to work easier for the city’s residents. It will also improve the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and schoolchildren who currently cross Buckle Street at grade.

Will this project affect the former Home of Compassion Crèche?

The Crèche will need to be relocated.

The Transport Agency is currently preparing a conservation plan for the building's re-location.

Other transport improvement proposals around the Basin Reserve (July 2011)

How did you decide on the different options?

We developed scoping reports for the transport improvements around the Basin Reserve, the Mt Victoria Tunnel duplication and the Ruahine Street and Wellington Road upgrades. These reports outlined the options and assessments, which we used to develop our preferences.

How will these proposals affect the safety of school students, and people attending events at the Basin?

A bridge separating through traffic will make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists to get around by reducing street-level traffic, while enabling the Transport Agency to put in place improved drop-off, walking and cycling facilities and a new pedestrian plaza.

Separating traffic with a new bridge north of the Basin Reserve will make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists to get around by reducing the amount of traffic around the Basin at ground level. This will particularly make it safer and easier when events are held at the Basin, as well as for the large numbers of school students who attend schools in the area.

We are also proposing a larger, safer bus stop and drop off point outside St Marks School, wider footpaths with seats and trees, safer crossings, a shared pedestrian and cycle way from Kent terrace to Mt Victoria Tunnel, and a pedestrian plaza on the Northern entrance to the Basin.

Why hasn't the Transport put forward a tunnel option for improvements around the Basin Reserve?

A tunnel would have been very difficult and expensive to construct as it presented several serious engineering problems; the steep gradient, the swampy ground conditions, reduced access from Tory and Tasman Streets, and the difficulty of accommodating a portal near the Basin Reserve without causing severance and disruption for pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

We've carried out extensive investigations into other options for the Basin Reserve.

A tunnel under the Basin Reserve would also be susceptible to tsunami risk due to its low-lying nature, whereas a bridge can be built to withstand a 1 in 2500 year earthquake.

Why hasn't the Transport Agency put forward a street-level option for improvements around the Basin Reserve?

While street-level improvements around the Basin Reserve were cheaper, such options didn't adequately address the capacity constraints around the Basin which require the separation of competing streams of traffic.

We've carried out extensive investigations into other options for the Basin Reserve.

With regard to street-level options, while these were cheaper than a bridge, they did not address the capacity constraints around the Basin. While they performed reasonably well for westbound traffic on SH1, these options were projected to increase congestion for north-south traffic, including existing and any future public transport services between the CBD and Newtown.

To properly address congestion for all transport users around the Basin Reserve, it was necessary to separate east-west traffic from the north-south traffic it competes with, which requires grade separation to be effective.

Why does westbound traffic have to go on a bridge?

Two of the six options considered for the transport improvements around the Basin Reserve kept State Highway 1 at street level. However, while they were cheaper to build than a bridge, they:

  • Delivered fewer economic, design and social benefits
  • Were not as good as a bridge in separating SH1 traffic from local traffic, particularly buses and possible light rail.

The bridge will also better meet the needs of future generations, particularly if they wanted to upgrade the Inner City Bypass.

Why not use a tunnel for westbound traffic on SH1?

We considered building a tunnel around the Basin Reserve. However, because it had to extend between Paterson and Taranaki Streets to be viable, it would have been significantly more expensive to build than a bridge. The tunnel construction would also have been difficult given the need to build it in an old swamp and its vertical geometry would be poor.

What other options did you consider?

The project team also considered east-west tunnels and street-level improvements.

However:

  • A tunnel from Mt Victoria would have had to extend past the War Memorial. Its length and drainage issues made it too costly and risky
  • None of the street-level options met the project objectives or would have met Wellington's needs in the near future.
  • For a summary of the other options considered see Options investigated by rejected [PDF, 557 KB] (PDF, 16 pages, 556 KB). More detailed information is available in the scoping report.

Some other options are still being considered [PDF, 489 KB] (PDF, 1 page, 488 KB).

Walking, cycling and public transport

Will I still be able to walk past the Basin Reserve?

All of the current pedestrian routes will be maintained, with pedestrian crossings provided where necessary. The project team is also considering the merits of a pedestrian and cycling facility between Mount Victoria and Buckle Street, along the edge of the bridge structure.

How will bus journeys change?

The bus routes will stay the same, but some bus stops may be moved or bus lanes changed. Journey times will reduce by 18 to 52 seconds.

How will the bus priority lanes work?

Bus priority lanes will be installed on the roads around the Basin Reserve. For southbound buses, the priority lane will be on the outside edge of Dufferin Street. Northbound buses will be given a green light before other traffic and will travel in a priority lane on the inside of Sussex Street next to the Basin Reserve.

For more information on walking, cycling and public transport, see Public transport, walking and cycling – now and in the future [PDF, 475 KB].

Why can't we just add bus lanes, bus-only phases and yellow crosshatching?

Some people have suggested that we extend the northbound bus lane on Adelaide Road right to the intersection and add an initial bus-only phase to the signals and crosshatching to the road. This, they say, would enable buses to get across the tailback on State Highway 1 from Taranaki/Tory Streets, which currently prevents access to the inner lane.

However:

  • Extending the bus lane right to the intersection would leave only one lane (instead of two) for general vehicles turning left to Rugby Street from Adelaide Road. When combined with the suggested additional bus-only phase, the intersection's capacity would be severely limited, leading to extensive congestion on Adelaide Road and SH1 back to Kent Terrace southbound, and delays in bus travel.
  • Crosshatching would deliver minimal benefits; experience tells us that few motorists would avoid stopping on it.
  • The proposal to extend the bus lane to the stop line on Adelaide Road, with a bus-only phase, is part of this project. However, it's only achievable if we remove the heavy SH1 westbound traffic from Rugby Street.

Other suggestions have included:

  • Providing a bus priority lane at the Dufferin/Paterson intersection. This would require us to create a dedicated bus lane on the intersection approach, leaving only one lane for through traffic on Dufferin Street. It would have a significant impact on the intersection capacity and result in extensive traffic queues.
  • Extending crosshatching all the way from the Paterson/Dufferin Streets intersection to the Rugby Street/Dufferin Street/Government House corner (where separate lanes for SH1 and Adelaide Road traffic are provided); and adding crosshatching at Ellice Street to prevent a backlog from Mt Victoria Tunnel blocking buses getting to the Basin Reserve lanes. However, the Mt Victoria Tunnel duplication and Ruahine Street improvements should reduce these problems.

Heritage

What will happen to the heritage buildings and sites along the route?

We've discussed this with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, and together we're developing a plan to manage the impacts on heritage buildings and sites. Each building and site could have its own unique solution.

A particular feature of the area around the Basin Reserve is the historic former Home of Compassion creche. For more information, see Former Home of Compassion creche(external link).

Traffic

Are we going to see traffic on the bridge queuing back from the signals at Taranaki and Tory Streets?

No. The three-laning of Taranaki Street and improvements to the Tory Street intersection will reduce queuing at these spots.

We're also investigating measures to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Inner City Bypass, as well as links to local roads. These are likely to be part of a wider package of improvements to State Highway 1.

What will happen at Pirie Street?

The right-turn movements to and from Pirie Street will be removed. Instead, motorists will need to turn right out of Elizabeth Street.

Changes to the Inner City Bypass

What are the 'interim improvements' to the Inner City Bypass?

As part of ensuring that the transport network operates safely and efficiently, the NZTA and Wellington City Council are looking at ways to get more out of what we have by making relatively small changes. The Inner City Bypass improvements are likely to be relatively low cost, with the aim of increasing road capacity and better co-ordinating traffic signals on State Highway 1 and local roads.

The interim improvements could include adjusting traffic signal settings, reprioritising road space, restricting some traffic movements and widening some roads to provide additional capacity.

Other

How is the second Mt Victoria Tunnel linked to options for the Basin Reserve?

The Mt Victoria Tunnel duplication is being undertaken as part of the Terrace Tunnel to Wellington Airport study, which includes the Basin Reserve and the NZ Memorial Park on Buckle Street.

What will the noise effects be during construction?

We'll take every reasonable step to manage construction noise. This will include adopting best practices in construction noise management and avoiding high-noise-generating activities during sensitive times.