Work will begin next month four-laning the last section of State Highway 1 to the west of Christchurch, from the Belfast area through to Hornby, following today’s (16 April) ground breaking ceremony by the Prime Minister John Key and Transport Minister Simon Bridges.
The four-laning of Russley Road, from Harewood Road to Avonhead Park, will cost $112 million and take three years to complete. It will include the construction of a major interchange at the Russley Road/Memorial Avenue intersection and a gateway bridge for the city.
The four-laning of the Western Corridor (SH1) is one of the Government’s Christchurch Roads of National Significance (RoNS), critical for the economic growth and prosperity of not only Christchurch but also the South Island.
The NZ Transport Agency’s Southern Regional Director Jim Harland says the Western Corridor is both a key freight and commuter route for the city, with traffic volumes expected to continue to grow.
“The existing two lanes cannot accommodate this growth, the upgrade being critical to improve safety, reduce congestion and provide more reliable travel times.”
He says a key feature of the project is the gateway bridge (as above) at the intersection of Memorial Avenue and Russley Road. “The gateway bridge is the first thing most visitors will see, being designed to welcome them to the city and the region.
“It is dramatic and symbolic, capturing the architecture of the Southern Alps and Canterbury’s braided riverbeds and linking the local landscape with the adventure of travel.”
Pedestrian and cyclist access has been an important part of the design, with improved cycle lanes and pedestrian facilities at both the Memorial Avenue and Harewood Road intersections.
The design will see the closure of all cross traffic at Wairakei Road, including cyclists and pedestrians, and Avonhead Road being closed to all vehicle access.
With the increase in freight traffic and the growth in industry near the Christchurch International Airport, the project includes the development of grade separated access south of Avonhead Road for heavy freight traffic using the airport facilities. This will provide safer and more efficient travel for commuter and tourist traffic along Russley Road.