We’re upgrading the final section of High Street to create a more attractive space for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy everything the city centre has to offer.

Get the latest updates on the High Street upgrade

Tuam Street to St. Asaph Street

In 2019, the High Street Revitalisation and Tram renewal project(external link)(external link) upgraded High Street from Cashel Street to St. Asaph Street. 

During the public consultation, a number of concerns were raised by businesses and property owners(external link)(external link) in the block of High Street between Tuam and St. Asaph streets, which resulted in the Hearings Panel deciding not to support the upgrade of the block, at that time. Instead, they requested further consultation, to determine how to make the street fit for its purpose.

What's happening

We took the feedback previously received and had conversations with businesses operating on the street and reviewed our plans for this section of High Street. From this we knew that we needed to consider:

  • Enhancing the streetscape to complement potential investment along and near the street, such as in the SALT District and retail areas.
  • Providing widened footpaths for improved access to the surrounding businesses, such as between the SALT District, retail areas, Te Kaha and the Ara hairdressing school.
  • Providing a critical missing safe cycle route between Tuam Street and St Asaph Street – linking the central city cycleway networks with the Heathcote Expressway cycle route.
  • Providing a simplified intersection at High Street and Tuam Street.
  • Implementing a reduced speed limit.
  • Making pedestrian access safer and easier between the SALT District and retail areas.


We developed two options for vehicles travelling south along High Street, and published these for consultation in November 2022.

Our preferred option included a paved right-turning lane onto St. Asaph Street. This will reduce unnecessary traffic on Madras Street and eliminate illegal traffic movements across the footpath and allow cars to access the car park on St. Asaph Street. However, cyclists will be required to give way where the turning lane crosses the cycleway.

The alternative option removed the right-turning lane onto St. Asaph Street. This would've created a clearway for cyclists heading north to Tuam Street and provided room for bike parking. Initial discussions with business owners suggested that they did not support this option.

In February a hearings panel recommended the Council's preferred design - which includes a right-turning lane onto St Asaph Street to reduce unnecessary traffic on Madras Street and allow vehicles access to the St Asaph Street car park – be progressed, with some minor additions. 

The recommendation will go to Council for approval before the project progresses to detailed design and construction.

View the landscape plan [PDF, 1.8 MB].

High Street upgrade from Cashel Street to Tuam Street

Construction on the historic diagonal route between Cashel Street and Tuam Street, and on Cashel Street from High Street to Manchester Street was completed in December 2021. This extended the tram route along Lichfield Street, Poplar Street and back up High Street, which involved installing the remaining tram track, tram poles and overhead wires for the tram network.

Sewer and stormwater pipes were replaced and we laid most of the new tram tracks linking High Street and Poplar Street. You can read more about the final works on Newsline(external link)(external link).

High Street had been in poor condition due to earthquake damage to the street and underground pipes. The upgrade addressed these issues while creating a pleasant and safe place for pedestrians, drivers and cyclists. 

We made up for time lost during the COVID-19 lockdown and the most disruptive work was completed before Christmas 2021. The High Street upgrade included:

  • A safer 10 km/h speed limit.
  • Level paving across the road and footpath between Lichfield Street and Tuam Street. 
  • The streetscape of High Street was co-designed with Matapopore to express Ngāi Tūāhuriri narratives and values. The feature aromoana paving pattern that crosses High Street was designed by Ngāi Tahu carver and artist Fayne Robinson.
  • Short-stay parking for shoppers and deliveries – P60 spaces, loading zones, mobility parks, motorcycle parks, and cycle parks.
  • A safer cycling connection between Tuam Street and the central city.
  • Feature lighting and new street furniture.
  • Corgi statues, marking the Queen's golden jubilee, were relocated closer to Poplar Street, beside the new tram shelter.
  • More trees and plants along the route.
  • Upgraded stormwater pipes along High Street.
  • Replacing the sewer pipe along High Street, between Cashel and Manchester streets, and round into Lichfield Street.

We consulted on the changes to High Street in 2019. Councillors approved a design for construction in the area between Cashel Street and Tuam Street. 

Find out more