Work is progressing well on the construction of the new on-and-off ramps for Christchurch's Northern Motorway at the Lineside Road (State Highway 71)/Smith Street interchange, near Kaiapoi.
The NZ Transport Agency's Canterbury/West Coast Highway Manager Colin Knaggs says the ramp embankments have been formed and work begins this week building the road on the western on-ramp and in mid-January on the eastern off-ramp.
"Work is also underway on Lineside Road installing new kerbs, traffic islands, traffic lights and street lights."
Planning for the $4.6 million project began almost five years ago, in conjunction with a review of the Pineacres intersection and ways to improve safety along this stretch of the highway by improving access to the motorway.
"With this work what we want to achieve is better access to and from the motorway that improves safety for all road users and to look at ways to provide a gateway access to Kaiapoi for motorists travelling in from the north.
"The Smith Street off-ramp will also help with the redevelopment and rejuvenation of the Kaiapoi town centre. Kaiapoi, along with Rangiora, has experienced rapid growth in recent years, bringing with it increased traffic volumes."
Mr Knaggs says the interchange improvements will provide easy access to and from Kaiapoi and help reduce the number of traffic movements at Pineacres where vehicles travelling north have to cross in front of high volumes of on-coming traffic travelling at speeds of 100km/h.
The new road layout and traffic signals on the Lineside Road(SH71)/Smith Street interchange will make it safer for traffic to exit and enter the motorway, as well as improving cyclist safety along Lineside Road.
Construction of the new ramps is on schedule for completion early next year.
Following the completion of the Lineside Road interchange, Mr Knaggs says the Transport Agency will look to undertake additional improvements at the Pineacres intersection, subject to funding. This work is likely to include the widening of the existing road and the construction of islands at the intersection to improve lane separation.