The contract to build this project has been awarded to Fulton Hogan. The first sod was turn by The Hon Simon Bridges, Minister of Transport, on Wednesday 13 May 2015. Currently we are working on ground improvements and building the bridge embankments at the overpass locations (Groynes Drive, Dickeys Road and the new on-ramp to the Northern Motorway).
Construction of the bridge structures, road pavements, stormwater swales and drainage pipes will start following embankment settlement. Landscaping, road safety barriers, traffic signs, road marking and street lighting will be the last jobs we do.
The Western Belfast Bypass is a 5km section of new highway, which will extend the Christchurch Northern Motorway (SH1), bypassing Belfast to the west, and connect into Johns Road west of The Groynes entrance.
It is part of the Western Corridor project which will four-lane State Highway 1 from The Groynes to Main South Road in Hornby as part of the Government’s roads of national significance programme to support economic growth and development.
The bypass will reduce traffic, by about half, on Main North Road - reducing congestion and making travel times more predictable. By reducing traffic through Belfast, the bypass will also make cycling and walking more attractive on Main North Road and improve the reliability of public transport. Traffic will also be greatly reduced on Johns Road between The Groynes and Main North Road. Links to the current walking and cycling tracks within The Groynes area will be retained.
The existing northern accesses into Christchurch; the Northern Motorway, Main North Road and Marshland Road are experiencing significant congestion at peak times. This is causing delays for motorists and freight, and reducing safety for all road users. The large traffic volumes on Main North Road particularly are reducing quality of live in Belfast.
The Western Belfast Bypass (WBB) will run from the existing Northern Motorway, across the flood plain heading south to connect with SH1 Johns Road, south of The Groynes Recreational Park entrance. This route bypasses the Belfast urban area and allows drivers to continue driving in a motorway environment until they reach the Johns Road expressway.
The WBB will reduce traffic on Main North Road (and the southern end of Johns Road), thereby reducing congestion and making travel times more predictable. The reduction in traffic will also make cycling and walking more attractive in Belfast and improve the reliability of public transport on Main North Road.
Around 42,000 vehicles per day, amongst the highest for any road in Canterbury, use Main North Road through Belfast to enter and exit Christchurch. This volume of traffic, and in particular the heavy vehicles using the road, discourage walking and cycling and reduce the reliability of public transport. As traffic volumes grow, congestion will worsen, increasing safety and public health concerns around the Main North Road/Belfast area.
For the local community
Traffic using Main North Road will be halved by this project, improving the safety and quality of life for Belfast residents. With the decrease in traffic volumes, walking and cycling will be much safer and more attractive. There will also be scope for more public transport. It will be easier to cross Main North Road and noise and air pollution will also be reduced.
For the future
The bypass is a big part of the Belfast Area Plan and will enable Belfast to become a vibrant growing community serviced by a network of roads that facilitate the development of new housing, commercial, recreational and social facilities.
The NZ Transport Agency is working with the Christchurch City Council to ensure the bypass fits in with the council's development plans for The Groynes Recreational Park. Safe access for all modes will be provided to the park and walking track in the area will be maintained. The bypass will not impact on the dog park.
For the drive
The bypass will reduces congestion and improve travel times and travel time reliability for drivers traveling between North Canterbury and the west of Christchurch. It will provide a more direct route built to motorway safety standards.