State Highway 74 (Main North Road) passing through Belfast provides the main access to the Christchurch City Centre, and Lyttelton Port via Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Drive. Large volumes of local and through traffic along Main North Road create significant congestion reducing the safety and efficiency of transport using this vital road. The proposed Northern Arterial and QEII Drive four-laning, between Main North Road and Innes Road, would improve safety and reduce congestion on this vital transport corridor.
The new 4-lane Northern Arterial and widening of a section of QEII Drive will improve access to Lyttelton Port, to industrial hubs on the eastern side of Christchurch, the CBD and enable further development of the Belfast area. Traffic congestion will be reduced and travelling times improved for through traffic and local trips.
Moving traffic, particularly freight heading to the Port, off the Main North Road running through Belfast will enable more public transport enhancements, as well as safer cycling and walking facilities along the road. With reduced traffic through Belfast, the local community will benefit from improved safety, health and stronger social connections.
The proposed Northern Arterial is a new 4-lane, median separated state highway that will connect with the existing Christchurch Northern Motorway, south of the Waimakariri River bridges, and pass to the east of Belfast and Redwood connecting with QEII Drive near Winters Road. The arterial crosses five major local roads (Main North, Factory, Belfast, Radcliffe and Prestons Roads) and the main trunk railway. It is proposed to keep access from these local roads to the arterial to a minimum with potentially no connections provided.
The construction of the Northern Arterial will attract more traffic onto QEII Drive. It is proposed that this road be widened from two to four lanes between Main North Road and Innes Road to avoid congestion and delays for traffic travelling to Lyttelton Port. Most of this widening can be achieved within the existing designation and property boundaries.
The Christchurch City Council (CCC) is responsible for the design and construction of any links from QEII Drive into the city to ensure traffic flows freely into and out of Christchurch. The CCC will undertake its own investigations and consultation on these links. The general locations of potential links are shown as green dashed lines on the map in the Consultation brochure.
The proposal includes consideration of a parallel cycle/walkway connecting with Owen Mitchell Park in the south, running alongside the arterial and connecting with the old state highway bridge over the Waimakariri River in the north, via local roads.
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