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christchurch northern corridor banner

Project introduction

This project combines the Transport Agency’s Northern Arterial (a new section of SH74 running from just south of the Waimakariri River to QEII Drive near Winters Rd) and two Christchurch City Council projects that link QEII Drive to Cranford St and four-lane Cranford St to Innes Rd.

  • Estimated project cost

    $240 million
  • Project type

    Roads of National Significance
  • Project status


Project updates

QEII Drive and Grimseys Road update - February 2018
Project updates, (PDF)
Grimseys Road subway closure
Project updates, (PDF)
Project update – December 2017
Project updates, (PDF)
Works Notice Cranford St - Knowles and Weston
Construction updates, (PDF)

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What is the CNC project

The Christchurch Northern Corridor (CNC) will extend the Northern Motorway through to QEII Drive and Cranford Street and include:

  • A new four-lane motorway starting just south of the Waimakariri River to connect with QEII Drive near Winters Road and then continue through Cranford Basin to link with Cranford Street
  • An upgrade of QEII Drive to four lanes between Main North Road and Innes Road. The addition of a third northbound lane on the Waimakariri Motorway Bridge through to Tram Road
  • An upgrade of Cranford Street to four lanes to Innes Road
  • Off-road pedestrian and cycle facilities linking to existing and new cycle facilities in the area.

The CNC is the first alliance contract of this size in the South Island. It is an alliance between the NZ Transport Agency, Christchurch City Council, Fulton Hogan, Aurecon and Jacobs.

The project brings many benefits to Christchurch and Canterbury including more efficient movement of Freight in and out of Christchurch and Lyttelton Port, and better access to the industrial growth area in Belfast. The CNC will make travel times in and out of Christchurch shorter and more reliable via all main routes – the CNC, Main North Road, Marshland Road and the Western Belfast Bypass (SH1). 

This new motorway and its connections will be built to high modern safety standards and will also move heavy traffic off suburban roads making them safer, encouraging walking, cycling and the use of public transport – especially through Redwood and Belfast.

For more details on the CNC project, download a copy of the overview map [PDF, 3.9 MB] pictured below.

CNC overview map


This new motorway is critical to supporting the continued growth of Christchurch as a business centre and the export hub for the South Island’s economy, and to improving journey times for commuters. Many of these commuters have rebuilt their homes in North Canterbury following the earthquakes.


Safer streets – moving heavy traffic off suburban roads making them safer and encouraging walking, cycling and the use of public transport. The new motorway will be built to high modern safety standards.

Improved access – freight will move more efficiently in and out of Christchurch and Lyttelton Port.

Improved travel times – shorten travel times in and out of Christchurch and improve reliability via all main routes.

Economic growth – enable sustainable residential development in the north of Christchurch and support commercial and industrial development throughout Canterbury.

Reducing congestion

For more information on ways to reduce congestion on the Northern Motorway visit our Northern Corridor Congestion – Facts, Stats and Answers page.