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$1.2 billion forecast total investment

Investment throughout Waitaha | Canterbury during the 2021–24 NLTP is focused on creating a safe, more resilient road and rail network, that supports the movement of people and goods.

As Canterbury produces around 57% of the South Island’s GDP – the main contributors being construction and specialist manufacturing, primary production and food processing – there is a significant movement of freight through the region. Planning during the next three years will continue to support inter-regional freight connections and initiatives that ensure freight is moved using the safest and most efficient travel option.

We will continue to support our partners to engage in planning to improve the safety and resilience of the transport network. This includes the implementation of a safety programme, working to better manage the way the network supports all road users and reducing speeds in places with poor crash histories.

In Greater Christchurch, we’re working with our partners to manage demand on the network and improve transport integration which supports population and economic growth through the development of the Greater Christchurch Spatial Plan. This includes integrated land use planning that will support increased use of public transport and walking and cycling facilities. We’re also ensuring we maintain necessary freight routes to critical transport infrastructure, such as Christchurch International Airport, Lyttelton Port, and Midland Port, at Rolleston.

Greater Christchurch

Without intervention, growth in Christchurch and the wider region will result in continued travel by private vehicles leading to increased carbon emissions.

The development of safe, separated cycleways throughout the city and connecting Selwyn and Waimakariri districts has already seen an increase in cycling numbers but more needs to be done.

The Greater Christchurch Partnership (GCP) continues to encourage walking and cycling within the city and wider region. The shared development of the Greater Christchurch Mode Shift Plan is now feeding into planning and programming for new cycling, walking and public transport initiatives to change travel behaviour.

The Greater Christchurch Spatial Plan will determine the preferred land use development option for Greater Christchurch over the next 30 years. This work includes ensuring the land transport system that is developed to support this growth is sustainable and provides easy access to a range of travel options, including connected public transport, walking and cycling.

Walking and cycling

Work continues on the development of Christchurch’s 13 major cycleways, providing 101kms of safe cycling facilities across the city and connecting to shared pathways built to the north and south of Christchurch during the last three years.

Four of the major cycleways have been completed, another six are either partially completed or under construction. All of these are expected to be completed during this 2021–24 NLTP period when we will be investing a further $5.3 million in the development of these cycleways to support travel choice across the region.

The major cycleways support residents on both sides of the Waimakariri River who now have access to 15kms of separated shared path, adjacent to the new Christchurch Northern Corridor motorway, and new cycle links built as part of the Christchurch Southern Motorway (stage 2) project. All these new routes are contributing to an increase in cycling throughout Greater Christchurch.

Improved cycling paths and pedestrian improvements are also a part of the Christchurch Central City Accessible City Programme implementation which continues. In the city’s central business district, streets such as Hereford, Victoria, St Asaph and Manchester are more accessible for walking and cycling, with wider footpaths and new cycling facilities. Improvements will continue during the next 10 years, with similar programmes of changes scheduled for Colombo, High, Worcester, Lichfield, Kilmore and Salisbury streets in coming years.

Public transport

Three integrated business cases are investigating improvements to the public transport network in Christchurch. Known as PT Futures, the business cases have identified improvements to five existing core bus routes and overall improvements to the network. The final business case – being developed in conjunction with the Greater Christchurch Spatial Plan – is investigating the factors required to support a frequent and high capacity public transport route, and how Greater Christchurch’s public transport system can evolve to deliver a much greater proportion of travel by public transport. We’re investing over $3.5 million in PT Futures over the next three years.

During this NLTP period, we will work with our partners Christchurch City Council (CCC) and Environment Canterbury to complete the bus priority lane on Lincoln Road, from Halswell Road to Whiteleigh Avenue, extending the lane already proposed between Whiteleigh Avenue and Moorhouse Avenue.

In the next 10 years, improvements will be made on Colombo Street to the existing bus priority lane. Other improvements to the public transport network during the next decade will include upgrades to intersections to enable bus priority along core routes and improvements to bus shelter facilities and real time information systems.

Almost $2 million will be invested in the on-demand public transport service in Timaru.

NZ Upgrade Programme

The NZ Upgrade Programme includes $300million for projects to support significant residential and industrial growth in the south-west sector of Christchurch and neighbouring Selwyn district, as well as three projects focused on improving safety at rural intersections.

All projects have reached significant milestones, including the completion of a number of business cases.

Elements within the projects include:

  • Rail corridor improvements and intersection upgrades along SH1 in the Rolleston area, as well as a Rolleston overpass for local access
  • Two bus lanes on SH75 Halswell Road, which will connect with the Christchurch City Council bus lanes on Lincoln Road
  • Improvements to Brougham Street, including priority for buses and walking and cycling across the corridor and for vehicles carrying multiple people and/or freight along the corridor. Intersection improvements will make it safer for communities
  • Rural intersection safety improvements in West Melton, Tinwald and Ashburton.

Freight access

By the end of 2021, the final seals will have been laid on both the Christchurch Southern Motorway (Stage 2) and Northern Motorway. Both motorways are supporting the region’s economy, improving freight access to key destinations, such as the Christchurch International Airport and Lyttelton Port. One of the major resurfacing projects in this NLTP is resealing Lyttelton Tunnel.


Through our Road to Zero programme, we’re supporting local councils to develop and deliver safety improvements, including 3kms of side barriers at nine high-risk locations along Dyers Pass Road. Following this project, attention will shift to safety improvements on Evans Pass.

The level crossing programme has improved safety at both Kirk Road and Carmen Road, while just north of the city, flexible, median safety barrier will soon be installed on the northern motorway, between Tram Road and Cam River.

Improving safety at intersections is a key focus. In this NLTP period, we will invest $2.6 million to support Christchurch City Council to improve the intersection of Pound and Ryans Roads. We will also invest $5.4 million for an intersection upgrade at Greers/ Northcote/Sawyers Arms in Christchurch.

Wider Canterbury Region

In the wider Canterbury region, we continue to make safety improvements to large sections of the state highway network.

During the next three years, we’ll invest to improve safety across eight corridors to reduce annual deaths and serious injuries in the region. This work includes a range of safety improvements to:

  • SH1 Ashley to Belfast
  • SH71 Rangiora to SH1
  • SH73 West Melton to Yaldhurst
  • SH75 Tai Tapu to Akaroa
  • SH1 Templeton to Selwyn River
  • SH1 Timaru to St Andrews corridor
  • SH1 Rakaia to Ashburton corridor.

Safety has already been improved at level crossings at Rangitata (SH79) in South Canterbury, and at Winchester, Chertsey, and two locations just south of the Selwyn River (Selwyn and Boundary Creek Road level crossings), all off SH1. In 2021–24, the Heaton Street level crossing in Timaru will be upgraded.

Working with Selwyn District Council, we’re funding two two-lane roundabouts to improve safety at the Springs Road/Marshs Road and Shands Road/Blakes Road intersections, and five intersection upgrades near Prebbleton to accommodate increased traffic volumes with the opening of the Southern Motorway.

Similarly, Timaru District Council has been able to complete improvements at a historically high-risk intersection between Timaru and Geraldine – the intersection of Winchester–Geraldine, Tiplady, McKenzie and Coach roads where there have been eight major crashes in the past 10 years.

We are also working with Timaru District Council on a plan to better manage freight movement through the industrial area of Washdyke, north of the city.

The regional package of the NZ Upgrade Programme is investing $5 million for pull-over areas in the Mackenzie Basin on SH8, SH79 and SH80.

We are also looking to make safety improvements on SH73 through Sheffield when we dig up and re-lay the road. This includes safer parking and minor intersection and kerb changes.


In the north, there is a safety improvement project underway to realign a section of SH1 south of the Clarence River and north of Kaikōura. It will straighten the highway, add an additional overtaking lane going south and extend an overtaking lane going north.

In the summer, we will be completing a major realignment of SH7 at Sylvia Flats, west of the Hanmer Springs turnoff. This realignment is required to prevent the Lewis River from cutting into the highway and threatening the route, which is a vital link between the east and west coasts of the South Island.

We’re supporting Hurunui District Council in its planning to replace the Conway River Bridge on the Inland Road (Route 70). The current structure is reaching the end of its life.

Under the 2021–24 Rail Network Investment Programme, investment will be targeted at the vital main freight and long-distance passenger lines that connect Canterbury to ports and the other regions. Seven rail bridges will be replaced (one on the Midland Line and six on the Main South Line) and 11 bridges will be strengthened (two on the Main North Line, one on the Midland Line and eight on the Main South Line). A total of 31kms of track will be re-sleepered and 10kms of track will be re-railed, along with other track and infrastructure works to reduce derailment risks, improve drainage, stabilise slopes and enhance river and coastal protection.

Keeping the land transport system well maintained and safe is a large part of the annual investment in the Canterbury region and Greater Christchurch area. This money ensures the transport system is safer, more reliable and easier to use, helping to keep communities connected and supporting economic growth.

Investment highlights for 2021–24

  • $130.5 million to improve safety across eight corridors, including a range of safety improvements
  • NZ Upgrade Programme is investing $5 million for pull-over areas in the Mackenzie Basin on SH8, SH79 and SH80
  • Four of Christchurch’s major cycleways are completed, and six more cycleways will be completed during this NLTP period
  • Safety improvement project is underway to realign a section of SH1 south of the Clarence River and north of Kaikōura
  • Completing a major realignment of SH7 at Sylvia Flats, west of the Hanmer Springs turnoff, to safeguard a vital link between the east and west coasts of the South Island.

Summary of achievements from 2018–21

  • Christchurch Motorways – the southern and northern motorways were opened, including the Northern Corridor T2 lane and new shared path
  • Lyttelton Tunnel – completion of the $28.7 million fire deluge system in Lyttelton Tunnel and alternative hazardous goods route over Evans Pass, from Sumner to Lyttelton
  • A series of new shared paths opened across the region, including the Leeston to Doyleston Cycleway in Selwyn, a path linking Woodend to Gladstone park and Pegasus in Waimakariri and significant sections of major cycle routes in Christchurch
  • Safety barriers installed in places like Queen Elizabeth II Drive, Christchurch, and on SH7 between Waipara to Waikari.

Read about a few of the ways that previous investment has delivered for Waitaha | Canterbury communities and New Zealand.