Wellington Scoop

Progress on underpass shows it’s a perfect time to switch to Option X

Photo: Architectural Centre
Report from the Architectural Centre
The NZ Transport Agency continues digging the underpass tunnel below Wellington’s future Memorial Park.

The route through is now almost complete from end to end, open for the first time ever, direct from Taranaki Street right through to the Basin. It is a busy worksite, clogged full of diggers, excavators, soil-nailers, trucks, and still: an awful lot of rich brown clay. The area was formerly a brickworks, with the Old Mt Cook Police Station and its brick walls remaining on show, but it does seem a shame that this perfect brick-making raw material is being spirited away to a landfill, never to be seen again. Mind you, bricks are hardly good material in this earthquake prone region.

What is apparent, is how small the Memorial Park is going to be when it is finished.

Another point is apparent as well: how easy it would be to implement Option X right now. While the current excavations are aimed at linking up a level patch at Taranaki Street with a level patch on Sussex Street for the 300m long concrete flyover to land on in a year or two’s time, there is no doubt that it would be a perfect time to switch to Option X and continue digging the trench right down to ground level at the Basin. The infrastructure is all set, the temporary steel piling system is already in place, the trucks and diggers are on a roll, and it would be such a simple matter for the Transport Agency to issue a large variation to the plan, and continue the dig.

If that was to happen, there would not only be the deletion of any need to build the flyover, and a consequent saving of the bulk of the $100million cost for the project, but also you could get a larger Memorial Park as well.


  1. Elaine Hampton, 29. August 2013, 14:49

    Not to mention the fact that the government doesn’t see any point in supporting a longer runway for a larger airport. Makes the whole idea of RONs from the airport look pointless

  2. CPH, 29. August 2013, 17:24

    This is the one time that the aphorism “when you find yourself in a hole, keep digging” actually turns out to be useful advice.

  3. Elaine Hampton, 29. August 2013, 22:40

    So, CPH, what are you trying to say?
    Why are we we building an expensive Road Of National significance at huge cost, to the airport which, according to Stephen Joyce, is not worth an extended runway? Just to whiz politicians to and from the Beehive?

  4. Ron Beernink, 30. August 2013, 12:39

    All of that is just encouraging more and more people to use cars to get into Wellington, causing more problems and more need to build tunnels or fly-overs etc. Wellington does not need this.

    Wellington has no real congestion problems. Encouraging more cars into the city will make it worse; not better.

    Wellington has a good public transport infrastructure. Lets put our money into maintaining and improving that.