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Managing the Impacts on People and the Environment

There are rules for projects to reduce the impact of construction on people and the environment.

Two important jobs for the Alliance engineers and designers are to;

  1. work out what might go wrong
  2. work out how to stop it happening.

Careful planning helps the Alliance to be a good neighbour to the schools, businesses and people passing by during construction.

Effects on traffic during construction

A temporary road has been set up for traffic to pass by the construction site;

  • It is called the Buckle Street Diversion
  • It is part of State Highway One
  • Once Buckle Street is underground, this temporary road will be removed
  • The land where the temporary road was, will become part of Memorial Park.

A very small part of the old Buckle Street remains intact so visitors can access the National War Memorial after coming along Tasman Street.

Mount Cook School

Mount Cook School is very close to the Memorial Park construction site.

  • Construction workers have built a wall by the school so the noise from the machinery is not too loud in the classrooms
  • The wall is called a noise wall and it blocks sound waves.

The workers keep the project site clean and tidy and make as little dust as possible.

  • The New Zealand Transport Agency did some modelling (using computers) to help understand what the air quality would be like if Buckle Street was moved closer to Mount Cook School
  • The modelling showed no big increase in air pollution
  • A monitoring machine at the school continues to measure how much dust gets into the air the children are breathing.

The workers have bored deep holes by the school so they can monitor the groundwater levels beside the trench. 

  • If necessary, workers will pump water into the holes if the ground becomes too dry
  • This stops the soil from shrinking and prevents any damage to the buildings’ foundations.

Buried Treasures

Items that people used long ago may be buried under Buckle Street;

  • The road workers are very careful when they dig up the ground
  • It is like finding buried treasure!
  • A team of archaeologists preserve the pieces of the past that are found
  • Some large treasures they found were:
    • a gun pit which once housed a cannon
    • the brick foundation walls from the former army drill hall.

Some of the smaller treasures they have found are on show at the Alliance information centre in Taranaki Street.

Relocating historic buildings

One treasure that has always been above ground is the historic Home of Compassion Crèche building.

  • It is near the Basin Reserve
  • It was a childcare centre built in 1914 for the nun, Mother Suzanne Aubert
  • Mother Suzanne Aubert was famous for helping poor families.

The Alliance will move the crèche a short distance away from the new road and it will have its own place inside the Memorial Park.

Archaeologists work in the underpass construction site to protect the artefacts they have found. Image: NZTA.


A noise wall has been constructed alongside Mount Cook School to reduce the impact of noise from the construction site. Image: NZTA.


Sheet piles have been placed in front of the old Mount Cook Police Barracks to protect it against land movement.


Ground water levels are closely monitored. If necessary, the workers will pump water into the holes if the ground becomes too dry. This stops the soil from shrinking and prevents any damage to nearby building foundations. Image: NZTA.

Imagine you are a student at Mount Cook School; how do you think the Memorial Park Project will affect you?