Changes ahead on new Christchurch Southern Motorway


Work on the NZ Transport Agency's new $140M first stage of the Christchurch Southern Motorway moves up another gear from later this month as it moves closer to its official opening early next year.

Between 22-26 March, construction on the new Curletts Road/Southern Motorway (SH73) interchange means motorists should be prepared for detours and some delays due to intermittent closures in off-peak periods. A detour will be in place for city-bound traffic and traffic heading towards Blenheim Road will be limited to one lane. Once work in this area is complete a new temporary traffic layout will be in place.

Construction started on the project, which is part of the Christchurch Roads of National Significance Programme, in March 2010 and involves building a four-lane median-separated motorway between Collins Street and the Halswell Junction Road/Spring Road intersection. An upgrade of Halswell Junction Road is almost complete and will serve as a temporary link back to the Main South Road (SH1) until the future Stages 2 and 3 of the Christchurch Southern Motorway are complete. Once completed, the Christchurch Southern Motorway will provide a safer, more efficient and reliable route between the Central City, Lyttelton Port and southwest Christchurch.

NZ Transport Agency State Highways Manager Colin Knaggs says "between Thursday 22 March and Monday 26 March the interface between Curletts Road and the new southern motorway will be constructed. Road users can expect intermittent closures during off-peak periods from Thursday night (22 March) to early Monday morning (26 March) with a detour in place during the closures. The Blenheim Road bound traffic will be limited to one lane for this entire time. We are aware this work is taking place over the time when the Canterbury Crusaders are having their first home game at their new ground but we will have the roads open during this busy time. It is also the weekend when two of our give way rules are changing so please to take extra care on all our roads."

A new traffic layout will be in place from Saturday morning (24 March). Motorists should take care when approaching this new temporary intersection while they become familiar with the new layout. (See map)

Colin Knaggs says the road layout will remain like this for about the next 8 months with one more temporary layout change before the new Curletts Interchange, including the double roundabout, is completed along with the rest of the project in February 2013.

Work is also moving up a notch on the Springs Road/Halswell Junction Road roundabout. Over the next 4-6 week there will be alignment changes and while most of this work will take place at night, road users need to take care.

Mr Knaggs says the Collins/Simeon Streets intersection upgrade is under construction with the new median currently being built. While this removes the right -turn for all motorists it will improve traffic safety. Pedestrian safety will also be improved with the new layout. The new intersection is expected to fully operational by the end of April.

Work on the new Lincoln Road overbridge abutments and deck has started. Traffic will be down to one lane in each direction until late October 2012 to allow for works, including lifting the bridge beams, to be completed. Colin Knaggs says this work may cause some disruption for road users and we ask for their patience over this period.

Editor's notes
The Government has identified seven essential state highway projects linked to New Zealand's economic prosperity. Called the roads of national significance, or RoNS for short, the NZTA is charged with delivering this programme of state highway improvements within the next 10 years. The RoNS programme represents one of New Zealand’s biggest ever infrastructure investments and is a key part of the Government's National Infrastructure Plan and Government's Policy Statement for transport.

The seven RoNS projects are based around New Zealand's five largest population centres. The focus is on moving people and freight between and within these centres more safely and efficiently. Other RoNS may be added in future but currently from north to south the seven projects are: Puhoi to Wellsford - SH1, Completing the Western Ring Route, Auckland - SH16, SH18 and SH20, Victoria Park Tunnel, Auckland - SH1, Waikato Expressway - SH1, Tauranga Eastern Link - SH2, Wellington Northern Corridor - SH1, Christchurch Motorways. More information is available at link)