Motorists will enjoy safer and more efficient travel with the recent completion of the Christchurch Southern Motorway Stage 1, part of the Roads of National Significance (RoNS) programme.
Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee formally opened the 10.5 kilometre Christchurch Southern Motorway Stage 1(external link) today (Friday 14 December) at a celebration marked by a blessing, ribbon cutting and tree planting ceremony.
NZ Transport Agency Southern Regional Director Jim Harland says the Christchurch Southern Motorway Stage 1 was the most impressive road construction project ever seen in Christchurch.
“Never before has the city seen a road project of this scale,” he says.
“When opened, this new motorway will carry 41,000 vehicles each day from Collins Street to Curletts Road and 21,000 between Curletts Road and State Highway 1.
“Most importantly, it will be safer for motorists, as there is a median barrier along the entire motorway length, and by moving heavy traffic off suburban roads, these roads will become safer and more pleasant for pedestrians and cyclists to use.”
Mr Harland says it is interesting to note that the original stage of the southern motorway, linking Halswell Road and Blenheim Road, opened in October 1979 and the second stage, the two-lane section from Curletts Road to Barrington Street, about three years later.
“At the time, it was always envisioned that the motorway would carry two lanes of traffic in each direction. More than three decades later we have realised that vision with the formal opening of the Christchurch Southern Motorway Stage 1.”
He noted the five kilometres of four lanes from Curletts Road to Halswell Junction Road was largely on the route originally planned in the late 1960s.
“When the second stage of the Southern Motorway is completed later this decade, road users will be able to use a total of 20km of safe, reliable motorway, stretching from Brougham Street to Main South Road near Rolleston.
“Motorists will have more reliable travel times and there will be better and more efficient travel links between business and freight hubs.”
Mr Harland says the project is not just about motor vehicles. “In partnership with the Christchurch City Council, we have co-funded an 8.5km cycle/footpath, providing travel choices for residents.”
The Government has identified seven essential state highway projects linked to New Zealand’s economic prosperity. Called the roads of national significance, or RoNS for short, the NZTA is charged with delivering this programme of state highway improvements within the next 10 years. The RoNS programme represents one of New Zealand’s biggest ever infrastructure investments and is a key part of the Government’s National Infrastructure Plan and Government’s Policy Statement for transport.
The seven RoNS projects are based around New Zealand's five largest population centres. The focus is on moving people and freight between and within these centres more safely and efficiently. Other RoNS may be added in future but currently from north to south the seven projects are:
More information is available at www.nzta.govt.nz/rons.