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Russley Road upgrade

The existing two-laned Russley Road (SH1) between Harewood Road and Avonhead Park is being upgraded to a four-lane median separated expressway. A median will separate on-coming traffic, selected main road intersections will be improved and access at some roads will be reduced to improve safety and efficiency.

For most road users the completed four-lane highway will offer significant benefits. Congestion will be reduced, travel times shortened and made more reliable, the motorway quality design and features will improve safety and landscaping will improve the look of the road corridor.

This project is part of the Western Corridor upgrade that will see SH1 widened and improved between Hornby and Belfast. Vehicles using Memorial Avenue to access Christchurch Airport will benefit from reduced congestion and more predictable travel times, while all road users will benefit from improved safety at this intersection.

This project is part of the Western Corridor, one of three corridors that make up the Christchurch Motorways Project, identified as part of the government's seven roads of national significance (RoNS).

Russley Road Upgrade Plan

Harewood Road roundabout

Harewood Road Roundabout.

The Harewood Road roundabout will be replaced with a larger diameter roundabout and an additional lane for vehicles turning left onto Russley Road (SH1) from the airport side of Harewood Road.

A pedestrian and cycle underpass will be built under the roundabout. The underpass will provide safe access across Russley Road (SH1) and access to both the airport precinct and the McLean’s Island recreational area.

A roundabout will be built at Orchard Road to improve safety at this sharp corner.

Wairakei Road/Russley Road intersection

Wairakei Road/Russley Road intersection.

Access at Wairakei Road needed to be reduced as this intersection is too close to the end of the Russley/Memorial interchange slip lanes to be safe. 

Drivers on Wairakei Road will be able to turn left onto Russley Road (SH1) and south bound drivers on Russley Road will be able to exit left onto Wairakei Road.

Drivers will be able to go north on SH1 from Wairakei Road by turning left from Wairakei Road onto Russley Road and doing a U-Turn through the Memorial Avenue/Russley Road (SH1) intersection.

Drivers coming from the south on SH1 who want to access Wairakei Road can do a U- turn through the Harewood Road roundabout and then a left turn into Wairakei Road.

Russley Road (SH1)/Memorial Avenue interchange

Russley Road (SH1)/Memorial Avenue.

The existing roundabout will be replaced with a grade separated interchange with Russley Road (SH1) going over Memorial Avenue.

The advantages of this design are:

  • uninterrupted traffic flow along State Highway 1
  • a long term solution to congestion and delays
  • improved travel time and reliability
  • improved safety for pedestrians and cyclists
  • room for future public transport options.

Avonhead Road/Russley Road (SH1) intersection

Avonhead Road/Russley Road (SH1) intersection.

Access to and from Avonhead Road to Russley Road (SH1) needs to be closed as this intersection is too close to the end of the Russley/Memorial interchange slip lanes to be safe. There will be cycle access from the city side of Avonhead Road to the southbound shoulder of Russley Road.

Southern airport access

Southern airport access.

Due to the expected increase in industry around the airport, a third high quality access point to the airport will be created south of Avonhead Road. This will improve access for freight.

This intersection will be grade separated (one road goes over the other) with on and off ramps giving traffic the ability to enter and exit the airport area from the north and the south. Traffic turning right into or out of the airport area will drive under Russley Road via an underpass, while Russley Road (SH1) will remain at ground level.

This access point makes it possible to separate much of the heavy freight traffic using the airport’s freight services from tourist and commuter traffic, allowing the airport precinct to function more safely and efficiently.

Cycling and pedestrian facilities

The numbers of cyclists and pedestrians using the Western Corridor is relatively few.  Most people choose to use other more enjoyable local road routes for recreation and commuting. These routes have a slower traffic environment and connect with the safe SH1 crossing points – at Memorial Ave, Harewood Road and Sawyers Arms Road.

We have planned the following improvements for cyclists and pedestrians:

  • A 2.5m wide shoulder will be created on each side of the highway which can accommodate cyclists (at present this shoulder is only 1.5m).
  • There will be cycle lanes and pedestrian crossings provided on Memorial Avenue at the signalised intersection under the new Memorial Ave Overbridge. 
  • A pedestrian and cycle subway will be built under the Harewood Roundabout. The subway will provide safe access across Russley Road (SH1) and access to both the airport precinct and the MacLean's Island recreational area.
  • The existing cycle and pedestrian crossing will be maintained at the Sawyers Arms Road roundabout. (Wairakei Road is being closed to all cross traffic including cyclists and pedestrians).
  • Vehicle access from Avonhead Road  is being closed but there will be cycle access from the city side to the southbound shoulder.
  • The off-road pathway between Harewood Road and McLeans Island will be retained. 
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