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$600 million road building programme for Canterbury revealed


Less congestion, shorter travelling times and improved road safety are three of the major benefits Canterbury motorists can expect from the biggest road construction programme in the region’s history.

Less congestion, shorter travelling times and improved road safety are three of the major benefits Canterbury motorists can expect from the biggest road construction programme in the region’s history.

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) Board has unveiled details of the 10-year programme that will invest more than $600 million in improvements to the state highway network in and around Christchurch.

The highway improvements, identified by Government last year as part of the Roads of National Significance programme, include the Northern Arterial from the existing Northern Motorway to Queen Elizabeth II Drive (SH74), the Southern Motorway extension (SH73) from Curletts Road to Weedons Road north of Rolleston, and the Western Corridor (SH1) from Hornby to the Northern Motorway.

NZTA Board member Garry Moore said the construction programme was designed to improve and future-proof access to the Christchurch International Airport and Lyttelton, Port of Christchurch.

“Our goal is to make life easier for Cantabrians by delivering reliable, safe and efficient road access to the airport and the port for the people and businesses of the region. The future economic growth and prosperity of Canterbury, depends on people and goods reaching these destinations efficiently, safely and on time.”

Mr Moore said the construction programme would deliver a wide range of benefits including:

  • More efficient movement of increasing freight volumes through the region
  • Improved access to Christchurch’s CBD, airport, Lyttelton Port and other facilities such as hospitals
  • Reduced congestion leading to more reliable journey times
  • Improved road safety, with lane-separated state highways, and traffic diverted from local roads
  • Substantial investment in the local construction industry flowing into the regional economy.

“Investing over half a billion dollars will create significant employment opportunities for the local construction industry, and all those businesses that supply and support the sector. This investment, spread out over the next ten years, will provide certainty for the local construction industry and help retain local expertise and experience needed for future regional development.”

Mr Moore said the NZTA was able to move swiftly to commence construction on the first projects in 2010, including the first stage of the Southern Motorway and four-laning the first part of the Western Corridor (Russley Road from Yaldhurst Road to Wairakei Road).

“Many of these projects have been on the drawing board for some time, but with the additional Roads of National Significance funding we’re now able to get on with building these important roads. Construction preparation work commences this month on the first stage of the Southern Motorway with earthworks getting under way in the final quarter of this year. Improvements to Russley Road will also commence later this year. Where projects are in earlier stages of development, such as the Northern Arterial, public consultation will provide opportunities for people to help us determine the final shape of these projects, with some discussions happening as early as next month.”

Mr Moore said all the planned improvements to the state highway network were identified in the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy (UDS), the 35-year plan to integrate transport and development in the Greater Christchurch area. The UDS partners are the NZTA, Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury, Selwyn District Council and Waimakariri District Council.

“The roads identified in this announcement will come as no surprise to our UDS partners and the community of Greater Christchurch, but we believe the size of the government investment and the timing of the construction programme will be welcomed by everyone living and doing business in the region.”