The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) will construct a bridge around the Wellington’s Basin Reserve, as a part of improvements to the State Highway (SH) 1, to reduce traffic congestion and allow freer vehicle movement.

NZTA has chosen to carry out bridge construction rather than opting for the proposed alternative of putting the highway in a tunnel, following extensive analysis.

The Agency plans to build the bridge 20m from Paterson St to Buckle St, north of the Basin Reserve’s northern entrance, which will allow more travel space to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

NZTA Wellington state highways manager Rod James said the bridge will allow buses and other local traffic to move freely and remove the state highway traffic.

"This gives the basin precinct more breathing space to allow wider footpaths, a pedestrian plaza outside the Basin front gates, better school drop-off facilities for buses and parents, and improved safety for school students and cricket fans due to the improved pedestrian facilities and fewer cars to negotiate," James added.

NZTA will also rehabilitate the existing Inner City Bypass to reduce bottlenecks, improve travel times, and decrease the state highway traffic impact on local and public transport.

The agency is working on the detailed design of the bridge and will consult all relevant parties before finalising.

NZTA will also improve the intersections along the Inner City Bypass for easy transit of users, motorists, buses and cyclists.

The agency is expecting to start the construction work between mid to late 2014 and complete the project by mid to late 2016.