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christchurch northern corridor banner

Project introduction

This project combines the Transport Agency’s Northern Arterial (a new section of SH74 running from just south of the Waimakariri River to QEII Drive near Winters Rd) and two Christchurch City Council projects that link QEII Drive to Cranford St and four-lane Cranford St to Innes Rd.

  • Estimated project cost

    $240 million
  • Project type

    Roads of National Significance
  • Project status

    Design

Project updates

Chaney on-ramp shifts to temporary new road
Project updates, (PDF)
Piling work on QEII Drive
Project updates, (PDF)
Piling work on Main North Road and rail line
Project updates, (PDF)
Wick drain installation
Project updates, (PDF)
Open Day Invite 28 March 2017
Public consultation, (PDF)

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Latest news

April 2017

The open day held on 28 March was a successful and enjoyable day. There are photos on in our gallery page.

The installation of wick drains and pile driving work is progressing well at Winters Road, Main North Road, and Belfast Road.  A working platform (.5m layer of compacted earth and stone) is being laid along the entire length of the new road alignment.  This will allow work to continue in the winter months.  The detailed design for other areas of the project should be finalised by mid-2017.

What is the CNC Project

The Christchurch Northern Corridor will extend the Northern Motorway through to QEII Drive and Cranford Street and included:

  • A new four-lane motorway starting just south of the Waimakariri River to connect with QEII Drive near Winters Road and then continue through Cranford Basin to link with Cranford Street
  • An upgrade of QEII Drive to four lanes between Main North Road and Innes Road The addition of a third northbound lane on the Waimakariri Motorway Bridge through to Tram Road
  • An upgrade of Cranford Street to four lanes to Innes Road
  • Off-road pedestrian and cycle facilities linking to existing and new cycle facilities in the area.

The Christchurch Northern Corridor (CNC) is the first alliance contracts of this size in the South Island. It is an alliance between the NZ Transport Agency, Christchurch City Council, Fulton Hogan, Aurecon and Jacobs.

The project brings many benefits to Christchurch and Canterbury including: more efficiently movement of Freight in and out of Christchurch and Lyttelton Port, and better access to the industrial growth area in Belfast. The CNC will make travel times in and out of Christchurch shorter and more reliable via all main routes – the CNC, Main North Road, Marshland Road and the Western Belfast Bypass (SH1) to be opened in early 2018.

This new motorway and its connections will be built to high modern safety standards and will also move heavy traffic off suburban roads making them safer, encouraging walking, cycling and the use of public transport – especially through Redwood and Belfast.

For more details on the CNC project, click on the map below.

CNC map poster

Purpose

This new motorway is critical to supporting the continued growth of Christchurch as a business centre and the export hub for the South Island’s economy, and to improving journey times for commuters. Many of these commuters have rebuilt their homes in North Canterbury following the earthquakes.

Benefits

Safer streets – moving heavy traffic off suburban roads making them safer and encouraging walking, cycling and the use of public transport. The new motorway will be built to high modern safety standards.

Improved access – freight will move more efficiently in and out of Christchurch and Lyttelton Port.

Improved travel times – shorten travel times in and out of Christchurch and improve reliability via all main routes.

Economic growth – enable sustainable residential development in the north of Christchurch and support commercial and industrial development throughout Canterbury.

Reducing congestion

For more information on ways to reduce congestion on the Northern Motorway visit our Northern Corridor Congestion – Facts, Stats and Answers page.

FAQs

  • What is the Christchurch Northern Corridor?

    The Christchurch Northern Corridor is a combined contract to build these related projects as one:

    • The Transport Agency’s Christchurch Northern Corridor Project – a new four-laning motorway from just south of the Waimakariri River, bypassing Belfast and Redwood to the east and connecting with QEII Drive near Winters Road.

    • The CCC’s Christchurch Northern Corridor Extension project  - a four lane link from QEII Drive to Cranford St

    • The CCC’s Cranford St Upgrade project – the four laning along Cranford St to Innes Road.

    The CNC project also includes; an upgrade of QEII Drive to four lanes between Main North Road and Innes Road which will reducing congestion and delays for traffic travelling to the port, the addition of a third northbound lane on the Waimakariri Motorway Bridge through to Tram Road, off-road pedestrian and cycle facilities linking to existing and new cycle facilities in the area and improved drainage infrastructure.

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  • Why is this project needed?

    Main North Road (State Highway 74) passes through Belfast and Redwood and provides the main access to the Christchurch City Centre and Lyttelton Port from the north (via QEII Drive). Large volumes of local and through traffic along Main North Road create significant congestion - reducing the safety and efficiency of transport using this vital road.

    This project will improve safety and reduce congestion for all road users on this vital transport corridor. It will also enable improvements to public transport, walking and cycling and local access.

    An efficient and reliable transport network into, out of and across Greater Christchurch is important to the social, economic and environmental future of the City and the South Island. Efficient transport links to Lyttelton Port are also critical for supporting New Zealand trade.

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  • When will construction begin on Cranford Street and QEII Drive?

    The detailed design for Cranford Street will be completed in mid-2017 and Construction is likely to begin in late 2017. Construction will start will the relocation of services (power, water, and telecommunications).  

    Work on QEII Drive will start in late 2017; we will begin with the construction of the double roundabouts and the new eastbound lanes (on the north side of QEII Drive). 

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  • Will the Christchurch Northern Corridor reduce traffic on Main North Road and Marshland Road?

    Yes, with commuter and freight traffic using the Christchurch Northern Corridor, traffic volumes on Main North Road and Marshland Road will drop significantly. This will reduce congestion, improve travel times for all road users and improve amenity for local residents. It will also assist in making these roads safer for all users including cyclists and pedestrians.

    Our traffic modelling shows that by 2026 the number of vehicles on Main North Road (Redwood) per day will be 42,000 if the Christchurch Northern Corridor is not built and 24,000 if it is built. Traffic volumes on this road in 2015 were 35,000, a result of changes in travel patterns since the earthquakes.

    There were 15,000 vehicles a day on Marshland Road in 2015, by 2026 there would be 29,000 vehicles a day if the Christchurch Northern Corridor is not built or 18,000 if the Christchurch Northern Corridor is built.

    By 2026 42,000 vehicles a day will use the Waimakariri to QEII section of the Christchurch Northern Corridor.

    (This modelling is based on post-earthquake traffic flows and updated development and growth predictions, and assumes the Western Belfast Bypass, another NZ Transport Agency Roads of National Significance project, is built. By 2026 the Western Belfast Bypass will carry 24,000 vehicles a day.)  

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  • How will the Christchurch Northern Corridor affect public transport?

    Once the Christchurch Northern Corridor project is completed, control of Main North Road will be handed to CCC. As the construction of the Christchurch Northern Corridor will result in significantly reduced traffic volumes on Main North Road, there is an opportunity for CCC to make changes to Main North Road which will further enhance public transport provision along the route, extending bus lanes, and making changes to intersection configurations. These changes will result in improved public transport journey times along Main North Road which is likely to make public transport becomes more attractive.

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  • Will there be provisions for pedestrians and cyclists?

    A shared off-road pedestrian and cycle path will be constructed parallel to the Christchurch Northern Corridor, between Cranford Street and Empire Road. It will connect with QEII Drive, Grimseys, Prestons and Radcliffe Roads as well as Owen Mitchell Park and the future ‘Source to Sea’ pedestrian and cycle path along the Styx River. An on-road cycle lane will be included on Cranford Street as well as a new link to the Papanui Parallel cycle path. 

    The shared pedestrian/cycle path will provide safe travel between Belfast, Redwood and areas zoned for future urban growth in Eastern Belfast. From Empire Road cyclist will be able to use Main North Road to get over the Waimakariri River. Cycle facilities on QEII Drive will remain and will be extended to connect with Grimseys Road as part of the QEII Drive four-laning. The Christchurch Northern Corridor will also significantly reduce traffic on Main North Road and Marshland Road making them safer and more appealing for cyclists and pedestrians.

    Local councils are looking into options for improving cycle connections to and from North Canterbury including improved facilities to across the Waimakariri River. The Christchurch Northern Corridor cycle/pedestrian path will be linked into this network once confirmed. 

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  • How will the Christchurch Northern Corridor connect with existing roads at the northern end?

    In order to connect the Christchurch Northern Corridor to the existing Northern Motorway some changes are required:

    • The existing Chaneys on-ramp will be removed, meaning there will be no access at this point onto the Christchurch Northern Corridor. Access will be provided further west by using Main North Road.

    • Traffic heading south on the Northern Motorway will veer left onto the Christchurch Northern Corridor.  

    • Traffic heading north on the Christchurch Northern Corridor will go under the Northern Motorway’s southbound lanes to merge with the Northern Motorway’s northbound lane.

    • An additional northbound lane is required on the existing Waimakariri River Bridge to provide for safe and efficient traffic merging from the Western Belfast Bypass, Main North Road and the Christchurch Northern Corridor.  The three lanes northbound will be extended through to Tram Road. 

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  • How will the Christchurch Northern Corridor connect with existing roads at the southern end?

    The Christchurch Northern Corridor will connect at QEII Drive with a 'grade-separated' interchange. The Christchurch Northern Corridor will go over the top of QEII Drive on a bridge.  Under the overbridge there will be on and off-ramps and two connected roundabouts that will make access in all directions possible. (This interchange will be similar to the recently completed Southern Motorway /Curletts Road interchange.)

    The north/south priority (Christchurch Northern Corridor over QEII Drive) was chosen as it is a less complicated layout for users and provides the best traffic performance for through traffic into the City. It does not require as much land, it uses the existing alignment of QEII Drive and it keeps the Christchurch Northern Corridor further away from adjacent housing than other options that were considered.

    The Christchurch Northern Corridor will then go through Cranford Basin and connect into Cranford Street via a new roundabout.

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  • Where is access to the Christchurch Northern Corridor provided?

    1. QEII Drive

    • The Christchurch Northern Corridor will go over QEII Drive on a bridge and full access will be possible to QEII Drive via on and off ramps and roundabouts below the bridge (similar to the Southern Motorway/Curletts Road interchanges).

    • Full access will be provided between Winters Road west and the QEII Drive roundabouts.

    2. Belfast Road (via south facing ramps)

    • South facing on an off ramps at Belfast Road will allow northbound traffic to exit at Belfast Road and access for traffic wishing to head south on the Christchurch Northern Corridor.

    3. SH1

    • Just south of the Waimakariri Bridge southbound Northern Motorway driver will have the choice of veering left onto the Christchurch Northern Corridor or continuing on SH1 via the Western Belfast Bypass or exiting onto Main North Road.

    4. Cranford Street

    • Drivers will use a roundabout on Cranford Street to enter or exit the Christchurch Northern Corridor. 
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  • Will the Christchurch Northern Corridor be elevated?

    Most of the Christchurch Northern Corridor will be constructed at or near ground level. Flyovers will be constructed so local roads can go over the Christchurch Northern Corridor (Belfast Road, Radcliffe Road and Prestons Road). These overpasses will be about six to eight metres high.

    The Christchurch Northern Corridor will be elevated six to eight metres above surrounding ground level, at the northern end of the alignment, to pass over the Main North Railway line and Main North Road, it will also be elevated at the southern end for the QEII Drive interchange.

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  • How will noise be managed?

    Low-noise asphalt will be used along the majority of the new motorway. This is a quieter surface than the chipseal used on many roads. Noise reducing earth bunds and fences will also be used in the semi-rural areas near housing. These will be similar to the bunds and fences near the QEII Drive/Innes Road intersection. Concrete barriers will also be used on the project bridges.

    It is believed that these mitigations will keep changes in noise levels due to the new sections of road to an acceptable level. However, testing has been done to measure noise levels in the area before any changes are made and these recordings will be used as a base line as the project advances. The NZ Standard for Road traffic noise - new and altered roads (NZS 6806:2010) are being used.

    The Christchurch Northern Corridor Alliance team will develop a program to reduce/limit construction noise as much as possible before construction gets underway and we will keep local people informed when construction noise is likely.  

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  • What will be the speed limit on the Christchurch Northern Corridor?

    The speed limit on the Christchurch Northern Corridor will be 100km/h between the Waimakariri River and QEII Drive. It will reduce to 80km/h at the interchange with QEII Drive. The speed limit on QEII Drive will remain at 80km/h. Landscaping and urban design elements such as median and shoulder widths will be varied to slow traffic where the speed limit reduces to 80km/h. The speed through the Cranford basin section will reduce from 80km/h to 60km/h. The speed limits will not change on the Cranford Street section of the project.

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  • Why is Marshland Road not being upgraded instead?

    Upgrading Marshland Road was investigated and dismissed due to:

    • unfavourable ground conditions meaning that widening and upgrading the road would require significant ground improvement and future maintenance costs

    • the large number of existing property accesses on to Marshland Road would limit the potential to develop a high volume, high speed arterial road. Plans for significant future developments adjoining this route would also require access to Marshland Road further reducing its functionality. 

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  • How will the project fit with Christchurch City Council 's Belfast Area Plan?

    The Belfast Area Plan (external link) is a long-term plan to encourage and manage growth and development in the Belfast area.

    The Christchurch Northern Corridor project is a key part of the Belfast Area Plan - as it will reduce traffic congestion and improve safety on Main North Road making the infrastructure and transport objectives of the Belfast Area Plan possible including:

    • significant reductions in commuter and port related traffic through Belfast

    • improving safety and amenity on Main North Road and improving public transport, walking and cycling

    • providing sufficient capacity on the local road network to allow for  the proposed urban development. 

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  • What will be built first?

    The exact order of construction is not yet finalised, but the Winters Road subway, the Belfast Road Bridge and Guthreys Road diversion are the first projects to get underway.  A working platform (.5m layer of compacted earth and stone) is being laid along road alignment.  This will allow work to continue in the winter months. The work program will be finalised by mid-2017.

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  • How will Cranford Street cope with traffic south-east of Innes Road?

    The Christchurch City Council is working on plans to ensure traffic can easily continue along Cranford Street on the city-side of the Innes Road intersection. Some initial investigations have already been done and more in-depth investigations and traffic modelling on the effects and solutions needed south-east of Cranford Street are under way. Public engagement will be part of this ongoing investigation.

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  • Why is there a barrier planned along Cranford Street up to Innes Road stopping right turns?

    The barrier along Cranford Street had several functions; it will prevent front on collisions, reduce turning movement at intersections (thereby reducing hold ups) and stop commuters using suburban streets as rat-runs or shortcuts. While this may mean the people who live in these areas have to drive a little farther to get home, the barriers will improve safety and quality of life for people living in these side streets by greatly reducing traffic.

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  • When will the Cranford Basin storm-water improvements be done?

    The upgrade of the Cranford Basin into an improved storm-water retention area and possible new forested wetland area is a separate project.  Work on the improved storm-water retention area will start in mid-2017 and take about six month to complete. Turning this area into a forested wetland area with public walkways and other facilities is a possible future Christchurch City Council project that will need public support to gain funding through the council’s planning processes.

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  • What changes are planned for the Waimakariri Bridge?

    A northbound lane is being added to the Waimakariri Bridge to help with the merge of five lanes of traffic from Main North Road, the Western Belfast Bypass and Christchurch Northern Corridor at the start of the Northern Motorway.

    The Transport Agency is also investigating building a third southbound lane on the Waimakariri Bridge to help ease congestion in the morning, and adding a separated cycle lane on the bridge. If this project is approved by the Transport Agency’s Board in June, it may be built as part of the Christchurch Northern Corridor construction.

     

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  • Will this project increase traffic on Cranford St and QEII Drive

    This new section of motorway may attract some traffic that may otherwise have used Marshland Road or Papanui Road but the vast majority of traffic entering Cranford St or QEII Drive from the new Christchurch Northern Corridor would have travelled this way anyway; but they would have travelled via Main North Road.

    Traffic growth due to businesses and residential growth in Christchurch and Canterbury will cause traffic to increase on all main roads including both Cranford St and QEII Drive over the next decade regardless of this project. However, because of the changes on Cranford St and QEII Drive these roads will be able to cope with this extra traffic.

    The Christchurch City Council has further improvements to Cranford Street from Innes Road to the CBD in their long term plan and this will reduce congestion and rat-running in the rest of St Albans and Edgware.

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