Marlborough Sounds Future Access Study
To provide a safe and resilient transport system to access the Marlborough Sounds
Council is focused on creating as much certainty as possible for the wellbeing of everyone who lives, works and visits the Marlborough Sounds.
Severe weather events in 2021 and again in 2022 closed roads in the Sounds leaving people with limited or no access for prolonged periods, and in some cases with no feasible, safe, long-term alternative access. Whilst road access to residents has been reinstated in many areas, roads are fragile and subject to strict controls.
Many of the Sounds roads were originally built as local access tracks and were never designed for today’s transport loads and damaging weather events. Unfortunately, more of the storms that have undermined these vulnerable roads in 2021 and 2022 are possible in the future.
Council embarked on the study to support the case for funding safe and resilient long-term access solutions for the Sounds, both for itself and to obtain funding assistance from Waka Kotahi.
Consulting, engineering and construction company Stantec led the Marlborough Sounds Future Access Study team. The Waka Kotahi business case process guided the study.
The study looked at five geographical areas, recognising their own distinct access issues.
Rai Valley to Te Aumiti / French Pass. Ronga Road (Rai Valley), Tennyson Inlet, Croisilles-French Pass Road, Te Towaka-Port Ligar Road, Bulwer Road, including Rangitoto ki te Tonga / d'Urville Island and surrounding areas.
Te Hoiere / Pelorus. Kaiuma Bay Road including Daltons Road / Track and Te Hoiere Road and surrounding areas – Linked to Te Hoiere/Pelorus Catchment linking back to Te Hoiere/Pelorus River.
Kenepuru. including Kenepuru Road and the outer Sounds
Queen Charlotte Drive , including Anakiwa Road. (Havelock to Picton)
Te Whanganui / Port Underwood. Te Whanganui / Port Underwood and Tumbledown Bay roads (to Rārangi campground)
During 2023, a number of options were considered for the above areas. Following an evaluation process, an ‘emerging preferred option’ and a ‘hazard adaptation pathway' for each of the areas were provided to the public for feedback. This feedback was considered for the final programme business case on the Marlborough Sounds future access.
Go to the Marlborough Sounds Future Access Study Programme Business Case
Emerging preferred options
The Marlborough Sounds Future Access Study took into account the results of community feedback from January-February 2023, the multi-criteria assessment (MCA), cost estimates, the Sounds’ geology, and economic assessments. Based on these results, and input from Council, the study identified an emerging preferred option for each of the five study areas.
Hazard adaptation pathways
In addition to the emerging preferred options, Government required Council to also identify pathways that recognise the future risks of significant events such as storms, earthquakes and sea level rise. These pathways deliver the lowest level of service Council is willing to provide, while still delivering safe transport solutions and access in and out of the Sounds. These are referred to as ‘hazard adaptation pathways.’
Following the second phase of public engagement in June-July 2023, the project team has finalised a programme business case to support the funding plan for a safe and resilient transport system for the Marlborough Sounds. The business case has been sent to Waka Kotahi for consideration for financial assistance with a response expected in December 2023.
Council then reviewed and endorsed the final programme business case on 3 October 2023. Resolutions from the Assets & Services Committee were adopted at an Extraordinary Council meeting on 10 October and provided to Waka Kotahi for consideration.
Waka Kotahi is now considering the programme business case for approval and propose a probable level of financial assistance rate (FAR) with a response expected in December 2023.
Council will then consult the whole of Marlborough on levels of service and rating options via a Special Consultative Process once the FAR from Waka Kotahi is known. This will likely take place in April to June 2024, as part of the Council’s 2024-34 Long Term Plan process.
Final levels of service and funding decisions will be made in June 2024. Once those decisions are made funding applications to Waka Kotahi will be made and if approved final works’ design can be procured and completed. The construction programme could then get underway at the end of 2024 in some areas.
Some low cost/low risk works are expected to be taking place early next year.
Read all of the media releases released by Council over the course of the study.
- Media release - Study seeks access solutions for the Marlborough Sounds
- Media release - Public meetings scheduled for the Sounds later this month
- Media release - Reminder: Sounds’ transport access meetings next week
- Media release - Marlborough Sounds Future Access Study survey launched
- Media release - High level of feedback on Marlborough Sounds Future Access Study
- Media release - Milestones met on storm-damaged Marlborough Roads
- Media release - Marlborough Sounds Future Access Study update
- Media release - Future Marlborough Sounds transport network engagement starts 20 June
- Media release - Marlborough secures road recovery funding
- Media release - Marlborough Sounds’ transport options released for public feedback
- Media release - One week left to have your say on Sounds’ future transport survey
- Media release - Engagement on Sounds transport network delivers over 1700 responses
- Media release - Holding account approved to fund critical Sounds’ storm repairs
- Media release - Marlborough Sounds’ study survey outcomes
- Media release - Sounds’ access study business case endorsed
Marlborough Sounds Recovery
Priority storm recovery access work continues. The current priority is on specific sites and improved access on Te Aumiti / French Pass, Kenepuru Road and Queen Charlotte Drive.
Following the conclusion of the Marlborough Sounds Future Access Study programme business case, some of the more complex repairs that do not currently prevent access can now be confirmed.
Email us about the study on: email@example.com