The improvements, which will cost about $4 million and take just under a year, are the second stage in a long-term project to make the waterfront route greener and more attractive. They include the replacement of a more than 100-year-old water main.
Mayor Kerry Prendergast, who is the Council's Transport Portfolio Leader, says the Council improved the route between the city and the Bluebridge terminal last year and plans to eventually extend the new footpath and landscaping as far as the Interisland terminal.
"We're committed to greening the quays and improving the footpath so that people get a good first impression of Wellington - whether they are walking, cycling or arriving by car or bus," she says. "This is an important gateway to the city and we want it to be a welcoming one for the large number of visitors we are expecting for next year's Rugby World Cup, which is why we agreed to bring this planned work forward."
The train track on the harbour side will be moved in towards the port so a new footpath can be developed. On the other side, the footpath will be widened and upgraded to just past the stadium. More pohutukawa - like the ones in the centre of Jervois Quay - will be planted on both sides of the road.
The Council's Urban Development Portfolio Leader, Councillor Andy Foster, says cruise ship passengers and others who decide to walk into the city have to make their way down a rough old service lane.
"There is no footpath in this area on the harbour side at the moment so when it is finished, this will be a huge improvement," he says. "We hope that in time, as links are made to the north of the city, this stretch will be part of the Great Harbour Way." The Great Harbour Way is a project which aims to link existing walk and cycle ways with new sections to eventually provide a continuous walk and cycle route around Wellington Harbour from Fitzroy Bay in the east to Sinclair Head in the west.
The Waterloo Quay project will also include more rain gardens - landscaped areas that not only make the city look better but allow stormwater to be managed more sustainably.
Rather than going straight down a drain and into the harbour, stormwater is channelled through gardens, where earth and plants help to filter out any pollutants. The system has other benefits too. The trees get watered, and in a flash flood, the earth and tree pits, which are the large underground concrete containers that stop roots damaging other services, provide some retention. They help to control the amount of water that would otherwise rush into the stormwater system all at once.
The new water main will ensure a secure water supply for the increasing number of businesses locating in this area. It will be replaced in sections between Bunny Street and Aotea Quay over the next three to four months.
Traffic is not expected to be affected at the weekends, peak times or before, during and after events at the stadium. Two northbound lanes should be operating as usual between 3.00pm - 6.00pm, Mondays to Thursdays, and from 2.00pm on Fridays.
However, traffic heading out of town will be reduced to one lane around the water main work during the day and after 6.00pm. To reduce the likelihood of congestion and delays at these times for the next few months, drivers may want to avoid the Aotea Quay on-ramp.