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Scenario C

Improvements in Scenario A and B plus: Less conflict with traffic and redevelopment opportunities in Te Aro

A new city tunnel would remove much of the conflict between people walking and on bikes and traffic travelling through Te Aro. It would also make bus travel more reliable. It would reduce traffic on Vivian Street and Kent/Cambridge Terrace, and provide redevelopment opportunities, including new buildings and public spaces above the tunnel.

Cost: $1.5b - $1.8b*

Time to build: 7 – 10 years*

*Includes enhanced bus mass transit. Light rail would add $350m - $500m, and increase the time to construct by about 18 months



More Information


Prioritising public transport, walking and cycling in the central city.

Proposed changes:

  • Move eastbound SH1 from Vivian St to a tunnel on the Inner City Bypass route
  • Improve space for walking along Willis, Victoria, Cuba, and Vivian Streets
  • Better Vivian St cycleways
  • Better bike connections across State Highway 1 through Te Aro
What about Mass Transit?

What about Mass Transit?

As in Scenario B, this scenario also provides for the phased introduction of mass transit.

It would start with extending dedicated bus lanes and priority from the Golden Mile to the Basin and Newtown, and through a new Mt Victoria tunnel to Kilbirnie and the Airport, with the introduction of a new mass transit fleet (either bus rapid transit or light rail) within a 10+ year timeframe.

Light rail would add $350 – $500m, and 18 months to construction.

What about the Basin?

What about the Basin?

The Basin road layout would be changed to separate north-south traffic from east-west traffic, using bridges and/or tunnels, and to connect to a realigned State Highway 1. The maps show options for how this might be achieved.

SH1 travelling in both directions goes around the city side of the Basin Reserve. Traffic travelling to the airport goes under Sussex St and over Dufferin St. Traffic travelling to the motorway goes over Dufferin St, and then under Sussex St.

The Principles

The Principles

How this scenario rates against LGWM principles:

Accessible, healthy and safe

Less traffic and lower traffic speeds in the core CBD; easier and safer to walk and cycle, including from the south and east and through Te Aro.

Better public transport

Significantly quicker and more reliable journeys by public transport via mass transit to the south / east, and through Te Aro.

A significant increase in people travelling by public transport, despite some offset from improved car journeys.

Clean and green

Air quality benefits along the Golden Mile/central area due to reduced traffic.

No significant change to greenhouse gas emission at a regional level.

Compact city

Improved walkability and more space for people throughout the central city.

Unlocks urban regeneration in Te Aro and enables more people to live closer to, and support, a vibrant city centre.

Demand and supply

Ways to manage travel demand will be considered under all scenarios.

Future-proof and resilient

A much more resilient network through Wellington city; including additional capacity and a safer alignment for SH1 along Karo Drive.

Past, present, future

Likely to require some demolition of, relocation of, or impact on heritage items (buildings, trees, areas).

Opportunities to enhance the built environment via less traffic in city centre and urban revitalisation in Te Aro.

Predictable travel times

Less traffic congestion due to significantly more people taking public transport, improved flows through Basin and Mt Vic/Ruahine St, and reduced conflicts for all modes through Te Aro.

Set in nature

More green space, trees and public open space in the central city; but impact on town belt along Ruahine St, and potential visual amenity/severance impacts through Basin and Te Aro.


Improved access to hospital and airport.

Urban renewal in Te Aro provides for many more people to live, work, shop and play.

Major corridors move many more people.

Travel choice

Unlocks mass transit; improved transport options for all to/from the south and east and through Te Aro - but reduced access for private vehicles in CBD.

Wider View

Improving the city as a place for people and valuing the wider benefits of integrating transport and urban form, is important under all scenarios.


Each scenario has been measured against the following criteria. Click below to see what the impact of this scenario could be.

  • Better urban form & amenity

    Scenario B benefits plus: Supports urban renewal and improved public spaces in Te Aro, and along Kent, Cambridge, Vivian

  • Less traffic in the city centre

    Morning peak: 250 to 500 (1-2%) fewer vehicles in the city centre

  • Easier to walk in the city centre

    Scenario B benefits plus: People walking don’t wait to cross SH1 at Cuba St/Karo Dr (+ up to 50% reduction at Cuba/Vivian)

  • Safer & easier to cycle in the city

    Scenario B benefits plus: Better cycling experience through Te Aro for people on bikes

  • More people take public transport

    Morning peak: 500 to 700 (8-12%) more passengers from the south and east 

  • Quicker, more reliable public transport journeys

    12 - 16 (25-35%) minutes quicker for morning peak journeys between Island Bay/Miramar and Wellington station

  • More reliable travel times by car, truck, van

    10 - 20% quicker/more reliable for westbound/eastbound journeys on SH1 between Johnsonville and Airport 

  • More resilient transport network

    Large improvement in transport network delays and disruptions 

  • A safer transport network

    In the city, to the east and in Te Aro Safer transport infrastructure separating people from traffic

  • On-street parking

    Wider impact: Spaces affected on Golden Mile, Vivian St, and on main routes south, east and north

  • Built environment and heritage

    Mixed impact: On heritage items due to works at Basin/Mt Vic, Ruahine St and Karo Drive; but offset by amenity gains in Te Aro

  • Emissions

    Minor impact: Fewer emissions from less inner-city traffic; increased traffic to east but less congested