An artist’s impression of the new-look Cable Car Lane.
A $1.5 million upgrade of Cable Car Lane starts this week and, once finished, it will make getting to and from Wellington’s famous Cable Car a much more uplifting experience.
The Cable Car is Wellington’s second most popular visitor attraction after Te Papa. More than a million people a year ride on it and, for most, the journey starts and ends in Cable Car Lane.
Between now and October, the lane’s leaky old canopy will be replaced with an elegant new glass one that will let in the sunshine.
More improvements – including new paving, way-finding signs and a new colour scheme for the heritage-listed Stonehams building – are planned for next year.
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the new terminus and lookout at the top, which opened in 2014, is looking great.
“The Cable Car welcomes over a million people a year and we want them to enjoy the experience. From the recent terminus and lookout at the top to the Lambton entrance, the journey will be lighter and more exciting.
“There’s now a permanent light show in the middle and top tunnels.”
The new glass canopy will be higher than the existing one, which will make the lane feel lighter and more spacious. The old ticket booth will also be replaced and the entry gates repositioned to make it easier to queue and buy tickets.
The lane will be open as usual while the work happens so people can still visit the food outlets, bar and other businesses within. They will also be able to get through to the car park at the rear of the lane and side entrance to Fujitsu Tower and the Cable Car Centre.
Councillor Nicola Young, Portfolio Leader for Central City Projects, says the planned upgrade is part of the programme to rejuvenate the city’s laneways; along with the current work in Egmont Street, and the recent transformations of Bond Street, Masons Lane and Eva and Leeds streets.
“Cable Car Lane is the gateway to one of Wellington’s most iconic tourist attractions but it’s also a key feature of Lambton Quay, our premier shopping precinct. Its facelift is long overdue and, once completed, will make Wellingtonians proud.”
Councillor Andy Foster, who chairs the Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee, says the Council had planned to upgrade Cable Car Lane next year but had brought some of the work forward to coincide with the Cable Car shut-down.
“We are working with the owner of the adjacent buildings and the Cable Car operators to plan and programme this work,” he says. “Every effort will be made to have it completed before the cruise ship season begins.”
A temporary roof will be built over the lane and then scaffolding assembled above that, so that workers can safely dismantle the old canopy and build the new one.
The steel frame for the new glass canopy will be lowered into position by crane in sections over a weekend in August. Traffic detours on Lambton Quay will be in place while that work happens and buses will need to be temporarily re-routed.
The Cable Car is expected to be back in service from 1 August and the work around the ticket booth will be finished by then. Other work in the lane will continue until October.
Buses to the Cable Car lookout are leaving from outside on Lambton Quay every 20 minutes while the Cable Car is out of action:
- 7am–7pm weekdays
- 8.40am–6pm weekends