Motorists travelling the new Christchurch Southern Motorway Stage 1 are saving up to nine minutes in travel time in each direction - for a total time saving of up to 18 minutes a day.
The latest NZ Transport Agency journey surveys have found that motorists using the Christchurch Southern Motorway are saving between four and nine minutes of travel time between Hornby and Lyttelton, despite a 15% increase in traffic volumes on Brougham Street which has added between two to three minutes to travel times along this section of the route.
The NZTA’s Canterbury/West Coast State Highway Manager Colin Knaggs says the new motorway, part of Christchurch’s Roads of National Significance, is providing a faster and safer route between Brougham Street and Main South Road at all times of the day and in both directions.
“Commuters are saving up to 18 minutes a day in travel time, despite significant increases in traffic volumes on both the motorway and at the city end of Brougham Street, and they can expect even better travel time savings when the second stage of the Christchurch Southern Motorway is completed in 2018/19.
“When stage two opens, peak travel times from Rolleston to Christchurch are expected to halve from around 30 minutes to 15 minutes,” he says.
“The improved travel times along the Christchurch Southern Motorway Stage 1 are already helping to reduce fuel consumption, vehicle operating costs and vehicle emissions, which is good news for both the motorist and the environment.”
The journey surveys were done in early March with two vehicles travelled the two routes from Lyttelton to Hornby, the first along the new Christchurch Southern Motorway Stage 1 and the second on the old route, along State Highway 76, Curletts Road, Blenheim Road and Main South Road to Hornby. The vehicles travelled the two routes at the same time over a number of consecutive days and at varying times.
Mr Knaggs says in peak morning traffic travel times are up to five minutes faster along the Christchurch Southern Motorway Stage 1 westbound - a 20% reduction in travel time - and nine minutes faster eastbound, a 35% reduction.
“During the middle of the day the difference between the two routes was less. This is likely to be a result of less congestion on the original route, with westbound traffic saving up to four minutes or 20% of their travel time and eastbound three minutes or 15%.
“These times, while not as significant, are important in terms of freight movements. Any improvement in freight travel times helps support a more efficient operation and improves operating costs as trucks are having to stop-and-start less along the route.”
In the peak evening traffic, travel times are up to six minutes faster westbound - a 15% reduction - and nine minutes faster westbound - a 30% reduction.
Mr Knaggs says work is about to get underway on a traffic study along Brougham Street to look at improving traffic flows and making the most of the network’s capacity. This study is expected to be completed by the end of the year.