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Population growth is putting pressure on the Nelson and Tasman transport network. Investment in the 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) will look at delivering better transport choice in the Top of the South with improvements to both cycling and the public transport network.

A key piece of this work will be progressing the Nelson Southern Link project through to a detailed business case. Broadly, this work will look at the Rocks Road and Waimea Road corridors and access across all transport options to get people and freight, safely and efficiently, in and out of Nelson. The business case will also look to better link the land transport network with Nelson Port, ensure there are safe and accessible walking and cycling facilities, and review public transport improvements to maximise the efficiency of the existing network.

Work will continue on integrating the high growth areas around Richmond and Stoke by managing growth to make more efficient use of the existing network.

Throughout this NLTP period, there will be a focus on safety improvements on the transport links between Richmond and Mapua and Nelson and Blenheim.

Top of the South map


The Nelson City Council plans to substantially complete its cycleway network during the next three years, linking the network from Tahunanui to the city centre. 

The council will focus on improving its public transport service, with a new Stoke loop route to improve accessibility within the Stoke area, and improve connections to the growth area in Saxton. It is also planned to introduce electronic bus ticketing to make it easier for people to use the service.


Managing growth, improving safety and developing alternative transport choices, in particular cycling and public transport facilities, are the focus for the Tasman district. 

On Takaka Hill, recovery works following the damage from Cyclone Gita will continue during the next two years.


Construction of the new $21 million bridge over the Ōpaoa River will begin in 2019, enabling better access for HPMVs on SH1. This is a critical transport link between Picton and Christchurch, particularly for freight, and for people in Marlborough to access Blenheim. The new bridge will make SH1 more resilient to natural disasters and secure as New Zealand’s key strategic road freight route connecting the North and South Islands.

Investment highlights

  • Further investigation into the Nelson Southern Link will consider the opportunities to better link the transport network between Nelson Port and Annesbrook for all transport modes.
  • Investment in public transport in Nelson and Richmond to improve services both within and between Nelson and Richmond.
  • Further extension of the Nelson cycleway network, completing a key link between Annesbrook and the beach at Tahunanui, and providing better access for those who cycle.
  • Construction of the Ōpaoa River Bridge to provide better access for HPMVs travelling from Picton to Christchurch.