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More Western Belfast Bypass lanes set to open to traffic

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The NZ Transport Agency has released new drone footage of Christchurch’s Western Belfast Bypass, including shots of the recent open day, as crews prepare to open more lanes of the new road this month.

The Western Belfast Bypass is a new four-lane, 5km stretch of highway. Bypassing Belfast, it extends the Christchurch Northern Motorway (SH1) and connects into State Highway 1 (SH1) Johns Road, west of The Groynes entrance.

Traffic is being switched onto the new bypass in stages, following the open day on Sunday October 29, which attracted around 10,000 people.

The staged opening will allow the project team to complete the final parts of the project, such as connecting the bypass up to the existing road network and carrying out surfacing work on the on/off ramps.

Transport Agency Principal Project Manager, Geoff Griffiths, says a northbound lane (heading towards Picton) opened to traffic first on October 31, with the second northbound lane open from today (7 November). 

“It is important that people drive with extra care and attention while everyone gets used to these changes and keep speeds down on the new chip seal surface,” Mr Griffiths says.

“With two northbound lanes now open, traffic entering the northern motorway from Main North Road will have to merge with the northbound bypass traffic.

“For the past week while there has been only one lane northbound open on the bypass, the on ramp traffic has had a dedicated lane to enter the northern motorway. This changed today with the on ramp traffic now required to merge.”

“There are speed restrictions in place in the area, however it is important that all road users play their part and stay focused to keep everyone safe.”  

Weather dependent, one of the two southbound lanes will open to traffic later this week. Once this happens, traffic heading to the city or Belfast will need to take the Main North Road exit. Traffic heading to Hornby or Christchurch International Airport can stay on the new bypass.

Also weather dependent, all lanes of the bypass are expected to open to traffic by Show Weekend 17 November, 2017. The team will be back to lay the final low noise asphalt surfacing in spring 2018.

 Once complete, the bypass will reduce congestion and travel times and provide a better and safer link throughout greater Christchurch, says Mr Griffiths.

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