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Bypass for Belfast?


Safer roads for residents and reduced congestion for motorists are just two of the benefits of a bypass proposed to divert traffic around Belfast.

Safer roads for residents and reduced congestion for motorists are just two of the benefits of a bypass proposed to divert traffic around Belfast.

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has commenced consultation on options for building a new road, called the Western Belfast Bypass.

This project is part of the Christchurch Western Corridor identified by the Government as part of the roads of national significance programme.  The Western Belfast Bypass will provide a new route from the Northern Motorway (SH1) for about five kilometres south to Johns Road (SH1) near The Groynes entrance.  

NZTA Canterbury State Highways Manager Colin Knaggs says around 37,000 vehicles a day use Main North Road - making it one of the highest traffic volume roads in Canterbury. As these volumes grow, congestion will worsen, compromising road safety and public health around the Main North Road/ Belfast Area.

“This volume of traffic, particularly trucks and heavy vehicles, discourage walking and cycling and restrict public transport”, says Mr Knaggs. “The proposed bypass could reduce the traffic on Main North Road by around 17,000 vehicles per day, improving the safety and quality of life for Belfast residents.”

Mr. Knaggs says motorists would also benefit from the proposed bypass. Safety would be improved with a raised median to separate on-coming traffic, and there would be no driveway access to prevent accidents with merging traffic.

The NZTA are working with the Christchurch City Council to ensure the bypass supports the Council’s development plans for The Groynes. Mr Knaggs says safe public access to this popular recreation area is a top priority for both organisations. A vehicle, cycle and pedestrian underpass (with restricted heavy vehicle access) is likely to be provided close to the current entrance way. An additional pedestrian and cycle only entranceway to the north is also being investigated.

Mr Knaggs added that the bypass is also part of the Christchurch City Council’s Belfast Area Plan and will see the local community benefit from a road network that allows development of new housing along with commercial and recreational facilities.

An Open Day is being held on Thursday18 March at the Belfast Rugby Clubrooms at 18 March Place, Belfast, from 3-7pm where staff will be available to discuss the bypass and answer questions.

Consultation brochures and feedback forms are at the NZTA website: link)

Consultation closes on Friday 16 April 2010.