Willis Street Upgrade

12 December 2011

We're gearing up to start the final phase of upgrade work on Willis Street, including installing new traffic lights at Chews Lane so pedestrians will have another safe place to cross on this busy bus route.

The intersection with Chews Lane where there will soon be a pedestrian crossing

The intersection with Chews Lane where there will soon be a pedestrian crossing

We want to bring the rest of the pavements on both sides of the road up to the same high standard as the section between Mercer and Manners streets that was repaved in 2010.

There has been a lot going on in Willis Street over the past couple of years. This work will complete the area, enhancing the look of the street and further improving the Golden Mile - the city's most popular pedestrian route through the central city.

We'll be repaving the footpaths between Willeston and Mercer streets, and on the other side between Lambton Quay and Boulcott Street, using the same pavers that have been used elsewhere on the Golden Mile.

We'll also be upgrading the pedestrian crossing points at intersections, including installing tactile pavers to help people with impaired vision. The new signals and crossing at Chews Lane will hopefully encourage more people to cross safely.

The lights will be installed during the project but won't be in use until the work is nearly finished.

The work also includes laying new kerb and channelling; putting in new lighting poles and lights and resealing sections of the street.

The Council's Built Environment Portfolio Leader, Councillor Iona Pannett, says the completion of the Chews Lane development and the Telecom building has meant more people are now living and working in this vicinity, which has increased pedestrian activity in the area.

"Upgrade work like this can be a bit of a pain while it happens but in the long-term, having an attractive, pedestrian-friendly city centre is a huge benefit. As well as shoppers and visitors, large numbers of people use the Golden Mile to walk to and from work and our busy, compact city centre is the heart of the region's economy. We know that it is one of the things that attracts people to live, work, visit and spend money here."

The work is expected to start in early January and take about five months, the bulk of it will be done in sections to minimise disruption.

Pedestrians will be able to use both sides of the street at all times and get to all the shops and businesses. We'll be talking with retailers over the next few weeks and as the work progresses.

Getting work like this done in an area that is used by large numbers of pedestrians and has two busy bus stops is a challenge. There will be barriers, equipment and people working and some noise, dust and disruption is inevitable.

Particularly noisy work won't be carried out between 12 noon and 2.00pm and work on the road will be kept to a minimum at peak times, 7.00am - 9.00am and 4.00pm - 6.00pm.

The Willis Street bus stops will have to move slightly while work is done in these parts of the street. When that happens, there will be signs to show where the temporary bus stops are.

Please take extra care while the work happens - use safe crossing points, always look both ways and watch for uneven surfaces.