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What’s happening at Memorial Park?

The Buckle Street section of State Highway 1 (between Tory and Taranaki streets) will be put underground to enable a new, unified memorial precinct at the New Zealand War Memorial.

The Memorial Park Alliance 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 began in October 2012, and work to put Buckle Street underground beings 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?

The Memorial Park Alliance is responsible for putting the road underground to enable thepPark while Ministry for Culture and Heritage (MCH) is responsible for the park design, construction, operation, management and maintenance. (The alliance are likely to manage the construction of the park under and agreement with MCH)

Why is the project just starting now?

The NZ Transport Agency is tasked with delivering the government’s transport priorities, and funding to undertake this work has only now been made available by the government. The Transport Agency 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 the 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 MCH’s 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.

Read more about Pukeahu National War Memorial Park(external link)

Effects on traffic during construction

Further maps will be posted as road changes occur during the development of the National War Memorial Park - and on completion.

New signalised crossing at the corner of Sussex Street and Buckle Street (start of the new interim road)

How will pedestrians safely cross from the south of Buckle St to the CBD and Mount Cook School?

During the construction of the underpass pedestrians will be diverted around the work site. Signalised crossing points are being put in place at both the Sussex St and Taranaki St ends of the work site.

Why is there a new signalised crossing at the Sussex St intersection with the interim road?

The crossing point connects to the 3m shared pedestrian and cycle path leading around the north of the work site and will provide a safe route for children and other pedestrians. The shared path links to Tory St and provides access to the school via a controlled crossing at the top of Tory St. The crossing will be highly visible for motorists. 

Will the crossing cause delays

The signalised pedestrian crossing will be phased to work with the lights at the top of Tory St. This will optimise traffic flows, so motorists should not experience any additional delay.

During the initial period of use, following the opening of the interim diversion road, the traffic flows will be closely monitored by the Alliance traffic team. In the longer term the intersections and the interim road will be managed by the WCC operations team and monitored by the traffic operations centre by remote camera surveillance to ensure good traffic flows are maintained.

The temporary toad

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 [PDF, 73 KB].

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). A 3m high fence has been built at the boundary with the school, 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.

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 Wellington 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.


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 five to seven 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.