I am delighted to report that works are under way on the Golden Mile, which runs from the beginning of Lambton Quay, along Willis and Manners Streets and down Courtenay Place to the Embassy theatre
These works are the myriad of unassuming but critical jobs that need to be done before major construction can start. They include things such as creating more mobility parking and digging up existing kerbs so that wheelchair ramps can be installed to allow safe and easy movement from vehicles to footpath.
The middle of a vibrant city is a challenging construction site, and our extensive planning has been geared around disrupting people’s normal daily activities as little as possible. Our preparation includes council-approved traffic management plans, safe walking routes around our construction teams and ensuring there’s always full access to every business whenever they’re open. If work can be done overnight, that’s even better. At our night works along Thorndon Quay, we’re excavating 26 potholes to check things like underground water levels, test the soil, and get a closer look at the spaghetti of power, water, telephony and fibre cables and pipes that run under most of our streets. Hopefully those works are going largely unnoticed by most people, with our teams tidying everything away by 5am each day.
We also embarked on a big effort to introduce ourselves to businesses along the Golden Mile and answer people’s questions face-to face. The team that’s working on revitalising the Golden Mile spent many days visiting businesses and residences to share that work was starting and answer people’s questions. Each day as they returned to the office, I heard the feedback from Wellingtonians about what they like about this work, and what their concerns are. If you were visited by the team, I hope you found it valuable. It’s been a large investment of time and energy, but we listened to everyone we met and hopefully built some excitement for how amazing central Wellington will become. Our team will be keeping up a face-to-face approach, offering drop-in sessions, meeting with businesses and residents near our work areas, as well as keeping our website information up to date. Our focus is ensuring we’re open, transparent and easy to reach. We have also recently completed a modest update to our website homepage so it’s easier to see our latest progress and other news.
Sarah Gardner - Programme Director
Golden Mile work starts
Works on the Golden Mile have started with the installation of mobility parks on side streets off Lambton Quay. This includes new ramps up onto the kerb to improve accessibility.
Works on the Golden Mile have started with new mobility parking and access ramps in the side roads off Lambton Quay. Work at the Terraces end of Courtenay Place is planned for early next year.
The Golden Mile runs down Lambton Quay, along Willis and Manners Streets and down the full length of Courtenay Place. This work will revitalise the heart of the city, with new shared spaces, plantings, seating and other improvements. Planning includes installing new special vehicle lanes to support reliable bus services, as well as bike lanes and wider footpaths.
Work on the Lambton Quay side roads (Grey, Ballance, Stout, Waring Taylor, Johnston, Brandon and Panama Streets) lays the foundation for early next year, when these side roads will be closed to Lambton Quay. There will be new areas created for vehicle turning, additional loading bays and taxi stands.
In early 2024, we’re upgrading the footpath and pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Courtenay Place with Cambridge and Kent Terraces and removing parts of the median islands in the intersection. Other pieces of work still to be finalised will take us through to mid-2024, when we’ll start the main construction work on Courtenay Place, beginning at the Terraces end, to create wide, open, safe spaces for people to walk along and enjoy the local bars and restaurants.
We’ll be pausing all work from 1 December to 8 January 2024 to support the busy pre-Christmas and summer shopping period for retail and hospitality.
Talking with Golden Mile businesses
We’ve been busy sharing with Wellingtonians and businesses that construction on the revitalisation of Golden Mile is coming.
As part of our wider efforts to reach Wellington businesses, we presented our progress and future planning to the Wellington City Council’s business breakfast hui in late September.
We spent five days visiting hundreds of businesses along the Golden Mile to share information and answer questions face-to-face. Two drop-in sessions were held for anyone to come and see what’s planned for the central city, and how the construction will be phased over the coming three years.
Over 9000 letters were delivered to central city businesses and residents, and we handed out around 2000 leaflets. We’ve made this effort in response to feedback from businesses and Wellingtonians that they want to know more about what we’re doing. We want to give people the confidence and understanding of how our work will impact them in the short term, as well as the benefits they’ll see once we’re done.
We found most businesses were keen to learn about the timings of the construction and what work is planned where. People told us their concerns about wanting to ensure there were no clashes with other major city events and they wanted assurance that there would always be safe, easy access to their shops. We also learned useful detailed information about the timings and loading requirements for specific businesses that we can now fold into our construction planning.
As the work progresses at points along the Golden Mile, the size of our construction sites will vary, as well as any traffic management planning to ensure safety and efficient traffic flow. We’ve assured business that we will get in touch with them well before there are any changes in their parts of the Golden Mile and will be able to show them what will be happening and when.
Thank you to all the businesses who contributed to our local knowledge – we will be considering everything we heard and looking for ways to incorporate this rich detail into our construction plans.
Thorndon Quay potholing
A spaghetti of pipes lie under Wellington’s streets and knowing exactly what’s where is critical to successful construction.
Over the past month, we’ve been digging up 26 potholes at night in eight locations along Thorndon Quay and the south end of Hutt Road. By morning, the works have been completed and the holes refilled and resurfaced. The investigation sites have been either on the side or the middle of the roads and are around 1m wide each. They’ve allowed us to confirm the expected locations of existing utilities like power, water, telephony and fibre. We’ve also been assessing the general soil quality and ground water levels. The works involve cutting through the layers of asphalt and concrete that have accumulated over the years and noting what materials lie beneath – these areas were reclaimed from the sea in the early 1900s, often with old construction material, rubble and the like.
The clear picture these works have provided means it’s now possible to safely lay future pipes for things like the five new, signalised pedestrian crossings we’re building on Thorndon Quay, and allowing traffic and pedestrian crossing signals to be connected to the Intelligent Transport Network. With the knowledge of where these existing pipes are, our engineers can take on the challenge of finding the best way to add meters of conduit to existing power, water, fibreoptic, gas and other services underground - just like threading a needle.
Designing for safety
This year’s annual resident’s survey gathered by Wellington City Council showed only 39 percent of women reported feeling safe in the central city at night.
One of the options for lighting at bus stops proposed for Courtenay Place.
Contributing to a safer city is top of mind for Let’s Get Wellington Moving. We’re incorporating the internationally recognised principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design into our designs because the way an area is designed and built can make it safer.