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Christchurch's new Southern Motorway opens to city-boundtraffic

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Christchurch's new Southern Motorway Stage 1 has this afternoon (10 December) opened to city-bound traffic. Motorists can now use both the city-bound and southbound lanes of the new motorway.

The Christchurch Southern Motorway Stage 1 (CSM1) is one of a package of roading projects that make up Christchurch’s Roads of National Significance (RoNS) programme. The Christchurch Southern Motorway Stage 1 is the first of these projects to be finished in the South Island. This project will be formally opened this Friday 14 December by the Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee.

“Southbound traffic have been using the motorway since 1 December and we have already noticed an easing in traffic congestion, less heavy vehicles on suburban streets and motorists reporting improved travel times,” says NZ Transport Agency Christchurch State Highways Manager Colin Knaggs.

“The new motorway will reduce travel time between Barrington Street and Main South Road (SH1) by about 10 minutes; it is just one of the benefits of the new motorway in improving our road network around Christchurch.”

He says parts of the motorway will remain one lane and under a 50km/h speed restriction while some work continues adjacent to the motorway. “We hope to have the majority of the speed restrictions lifted and all lanes operational by Christmas.

“In Spring next year, once the new motorway surface has had a chance to ‘bed in’, we will resurface the chip-sealed section between Curletts Road and Halswell Junction Road in asphaltic concrete, a similar material to that used on the section between Barrington Street and Curletts Road.”

The new eight kilometre long, four-lane, median-separated motorway, which runs between Collins Street and Halswell Junction Road, will provide a safer, more efficient and reliable route between the Central City, Lyttelton Port and south-west Christchurch.  This project also includes the already complete 2.5 km Halswell Junction Rd upgrade.

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 www.nzta.govt.nz/rons(external link).

For the latest Christchurch on Christchurch road conditions go to: www.transportforchch.govt.nz(external link).

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