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A combined response to Northern Access Congestion


Jim Harland (NZ Transport Agency Regional Director) on behalf of the Urban Development Strategy Partners welcomes the ECan study into the short term use of rail as one of the options to improve travel reliability between Christchurch City and Waimakariri District.

The NZ Transport Agency and its Partners, Christchurch Transport Operations Centre, Waimakariri District Council, Christchurch City Council, and ECan are working on a number of short term solutions and new ways to manage the network.

A technical working group has been established with staff from all UDS partners to develop a package of possible options that could address congestion issues.

“There are a number of options that we are looking at to manage congestion on the northern motorway which include options to better manage the road space and include other modes of travel.  ” says Mr Harland.

The Christchurch Transport Operations Centre (CTOC) are currently monitoring the situation and gathering data to better understand where people are travelling and the reliability of their journey.  This data will assist in considering what short term options would be effective says Mr Harland.

He says “While we need to better understand how we best manage road space, there are actions the NZ Transport Agency is investigating now.  This includes placing markers on the Tram Road on-ramp that will assist motorists to ‘merge like a zip’ and a wider shoulder at the Empire Road off ramp for allowing safer areas for pulling off the motorway.”

Other options being considered by the technical groups include widening shoulders along Old Main North Road to provide passenger transport/ high occupancy vehicles lanes.  

Mr Harland says while all organisations involved understand the community’s frustration with delays, he warns it is unlikely wholesale change will be able to be made in the short term to dramatically improve the situation until the Western Corridor and Northern Arterial are built.  However the short term effects will be manageable if we can change user behaviour to move 10 percent of the vehicles off the Motorway and access roads during peak hours. Methods to do this include placing more people into passenger transport, car-pooling or traveling at a different time.

For more information please contact:  

Glenda Dobbyn
Media Manager
NZ Transport Agency

M: 021 021 67217