Going to the airport next week? Build in extra time for new roundabout.


From Sunday, 20 March, the Russley Road/ Memorial Avenue roundabout, the main access to Christchurch’s International Airport is undergoing a major change which may cause some short-term delays.

The new roundabout is becoming larger and oblong-shaped, controlled not only by give-way signs, but also traffic signals on both the city and airport sides of Memorial Avenue and on the roundabout itself.

  • Memorial Avenue drivers going to and from the airport will enter the roundabout on the green traffic signal.
  • Russley Road drivers will enter the roundabout using the existing Give Way to the right rule.
  • Drivers going across the length of the roundabout, in both directions, will also have to obey the traffic signals at the centre of the roundabout where Memorial Avenue traffic joins the roundabout.

Diagram of the new, elongated Memorial Avenue/ Russley Road roundabout, entrance to Christchurch International Airport.

“The traffic signals will stop traffic coming from Russley Road so drivers from Memorial Avenue will be able to enter the roundabout,” says Colin Knaggs, Highway Manager, NZ Transport Agency.

“Drivers need to be careful while everyone gets used to the new configuration. In some places it will be three lanes wide,” he said. “It will look quite different with the roundabout stretching 500 metres along Russley Road, but ultimately it is a roundabout and the normal road rules apply.”

 In particular people need to:

  • Make sure you are in the correct lane when you enter the roundabout by following the road marking and signage.
  • Indicate your intentions if you change lanes on the roundabout and as you exit the roundabout.
  • And, please obey the traffic signals.

Cyclists and pedestrians will be able to cross at the traffic signals and will have access through the roundabout island to the signals on the opposite side.

This interim layout, which will be in place for about 15 months, was chosen as it will reduce the number of temporary traffic changes needed while crews build the major overbridge in the roundabout’s centre island, part of the Russley Road Upgrade. This will be operational in two years time. This is part of the Roads of National Significance(external link)

When the overbridge is finished - Russley Road (SH1) will go over Memorial Avenue on the bridge, with a signalised intersection below, including on and off-ramps for drivers heading to the airport and Memorial Avenue.

“The Transport Agency thanks everyone for taking care while we all get used to the new roundabout and building in extra time for trips to the airport,” said Colin Knaggs.

For more information visit Christchurch Motorways Project.(external link)