Stage 2 Selection of best arterial route options


Stage 2 investigated all the realistically conceivable options for the study. This included part time clearways, tunnel options, rail and light rail, and public transport and travel demand management.*

The Decision Making Team started out with 18 individual options to consider. To shorten the list, they eliminated options from further consideration using two key criteria. The first criterion removed options that did not significantly improve the capacity of Nelson’s main corridors. In other words, if the option would not allow a significant increase in the number of people and goods to travel over the route, the option was eliminated.

As a result of this first level review, all rail options were removed from the list. The team determined that installation of freight rail would not attract enough interest for commercial freight companies to make the jump to using it over freight trucking on the main roads. A freight option simply isn’t economically viable.

The second criterion was cost. The team noted that some of the options would never be constructed because of constraints on funding availability through Council and NZTA. Therefore, the team decided to cap project costs at $100 million, as anything over would be too expensive for Council and NZTA to even consider funding within at least the next 20 years, and possibly further. Therefore, options were eliminated that would require the building of tunnels and installation of light rail – all cost prohibitive.

In reviewing the options for public transport and travel demand management, the team decided that both options by themselves would not have a significant impact as individually each wouldn’t significantly reduce the number of people using the arterial routes. But, they could be beneficial in combination with the other options and so they will be factored into the review process for each of the four remaining short list options and the baseline option.

* TDM maximises the efficiency of the transport systems by removing the need for trips (land use planning) or shifting them to times or modes that place less demands on the system, thereby ensuring the more essential trips are made as efficiently as possible


The broad list of options was narrowed down to the following four options. Each has particular variations. All options and their variations will proceed to evaluation in Stage 3.

Please note that letters assigned to the options refer to the original long list in the Stage 2 report, which is why they appear out of order. Intermediary options were those that were ruled out.

Four roading options

All options include public transport and travel demand management.

Option A: Part Time Clearways

A map of Nelson highlighting Option A. (Cost < $20 million)

This option proposes to install part time (initially peakhour) clearways on Rocks Road and Waimea Road. Northbound traffic in the AM peak will use the Rocks Road clearway and southbound traffic in the PM peak will use the Waimea Road clearway. Outside the clearway periods the lanes would be available for parking. This is similar to Option 1 as presented in the North Nelson to Brightwater Consultation.

Possible operational variations to this option include:

  • full time three lanes on both routes
  • using the clearways for high occupancy vehicles only
  • using the clearways for freight vehicles only
  • using the clearways for buses and taxis only
  • using both the clearways in both peaks or additional times
Option B: Southern Arterial including consideration of a flyover or a tunnel

A map of Nelson highlighting Option B.

(Cost $20 - 50 million)

This option proposes to construct a new two lane road between St Vincent Street and Beatson Road. This option is similar to the Southern Corridor Local Arterial Road presented as Option 2 in the North Nelson to Brightwater study. It is a lower standard that the Southern Link in that it provides one lane in each direction with relatively narrow shoulders and at-grade rather than grade separated intersections.

Variations on this option include:

  • constructing a route with grade separated interchanges (i.e. the Southern Link)
  • using the link only for public transport (and/or high occupancy vehicles and taxis)
  • making the link compulsory for freight (to get trucks off Rocks Road)
  • conversely not allowing freight to use the link (if there are air quality issues)
  • constructing portions of the arterial as four lane carriageway
Option H: Rocks Road Four Laning

A map of Nelson highlighting Option H.

(Cost $50 - 300 million)

This option involves constructing a new seawall to the northwest of the existing frontage on Rocks Road and providing a dual carriageway with cycle lanes on both sides of the road.

This option could be varied by providing three lanes with tidal flow, or by building an expressway and retaining the existing route as a local access road only.

Option I: Waimea Road / Rutherford Street Four Laning

A map of Nelson highlighting Option I.

(Cost $20 - 100 million)

This option involves four laning Waimea Road and Rutherford Street as shown in Figure 4.9-1 below.

This option could be varied by widening to only three laning the roads and providing tidal flow facilities along this route.


The Stage 2 Report is very large in size, so it has been split into two parts for faster downloading.

Download Part 1 (pages 1 - 15) of the Stage 2 Report (3.5MB PDF)

Download Part 2 (pages 16 - 32) of the Stage 2 Report (5.8MB PDF)

Join in on the ongoing conversation with online forums

If you wish to discuss the Stage 2 Arterial Traffic Study report, an online forum is open for you to ask questions, change clarification, or talk with others, including members of the Study Team. Click here to go to the Stage 2 forum.