Investment throughout Canterbury during the 2021–24 NLTP is focused on creating a safe, more resilient road and rail network, that supports the movement of people and goods. This includes maintaining important links to neighbouring regions and the rest of New Zealand, to support export, tourism and domestic travel volumes.

We continue to support our partners to engage in planning to improve the safety and resilience of the transport network. This includes the implementation of a safety programme, working to better manage the way the network supports all road users and reducing speeds in places with poor crash histories.

In Greater Christchurch, we’re working with our partners to manage demand on the network and improve transport integration which supports population and economic growth through the development of the Greater Christchurch Spatial Plan. This includes integrated land use planning that will support increased use of public transport, and walking and cycling facilities. We’re also ensuring we maintain necessary freight routes to critical transport infrastructure, such as Christchurch International Airport, Lyttelton Port and MidlandPort, at Rolleston.

Greater Christchurch

Without intervention, growth in Christchurch and the wider region will result in continued travel by private vehicles leading to increased carbon emissions.

The development of safe, separated cycleways throughout the city and connecting Selwyn and Waimakariri districts has already seen an increase in cycling numbers but more needs to be done.

The Greater Christchurch Partnership (GCP) continues to encourage walking and cycling within the city and wider region. The shared development of the Greater Christchurch Mode Shift Plan is now feeding into planning and programming for new cycling, walking and public transport initiatives to change travel behaviour.

The Greater Christchurch Spatial Plan will determine the preferred land use development option for Greater Christchurch over the next 30 years. This work includes ensuring the land transport system that is developed to support this growth is sustainable and provides easy access to a range of travel options, including connected public transport, walking and cycling. Alongside this, we’re working with the Greater Christchurch partners to investigate a future rapid transit system.

Walking and cycling

Work continues on the development of Christchurch’s 13 major cycleways, providing 101kms of safe cycling facilities across the city and connecting to shared pathways built to the north and south of Christchurch during the last three years.

Four of the major cycleways are fully opened, five are partially opened and four are being developed. We will be investing at least a further $5.3 million in the development of these cycleways to support travel choice across the region.

The major cycleways support residents on both sides of the Waimakariri River who now have access to 15kms of separated shared path, adjacent to the new Christchurch Northern Corridor motorway, and new cycle links built as part of the Christchurch Southern Motorway (stage 2) project. All these new routes are contributing to an increase in cycling throughout Greater Christchurch.

Improved cycling paths and pedestrian improvements are also a part of the Christchurch Central City Accessible City Programme implementation which continues. In the city’s central business district, streets such as Hereford, Victoria, St Asaph and Manchester are more accessible for walking and cycling, with wider footpaths and new cycling facilities. Improvements will continue during the next 10 years, with similar programmes of changes scheduled for Colombo, High, Worcester, Lichfield, Kilmore and Salisbury streets in coming years.

Public transport

The final business case, in a series of three integrated business cases known as PT Futures, is looking at the potential for a rapid transit system in Greater Christchurch. Two of the business cases have already identified improvements to five existing core bus routes and overall improvements to the network.  The investigation of a rapid transit system is being done in conjunction with the Greater Christchurch Spatial Plan and is investigating the factors required to support a frequent and high capacity public transport route, and how Greater Christchurch’s public transport system can evolve to deliver a much greater proportion of travel by public transport. We’ll be investing over $3.5 million into the entire PT Futures portfolio of work.

New Zealand Upgrade Programme

The New Zealand Upgrade Programme includes $300 million for projects to support significant residential and industrial growth in the southwest sector of Christchurch and neighbouring Selwyn district, as well as three projects focused on improving safety at rural intersections.

All projects have reached significant milestones, including the completion of a number of business cases.

Elements within the projects include:

  • Rail corridor improvements and intersection upgrades along SH1 in the Rolleston area, as well as a Rolleston overpass for local access.
  • Two bus lanes on SH75 Halswell Road, which will connect with the Christchurch City Council bus lanes on Lincoln Road.
  • Improvements to Brougham Street, including priority for buses, walking and cycling across the corridor and for vehicles carrying multiple people and/or freight along the corridor. Intersection improvements will make it safer for communities.
  • Rural intersection safety improvements in West Melton, Tinwald and Ashburton.

Wider Canterbury region

In the wider Canterbury region, we continue to make safety improvements to sections of the state highway network.

During the next three years, we’ll invest to improve safety across eight corridors to reduce annual deaths and serious injuries in the region. This work includes a range of safety improvements to:

  • SH1 Ashley to Belfast
  • SH71 Rangiora to SH1
  • SH73 West Melton to Yaldhurst
  • SH75 Little River to Akaroa
  • SH1 Templeton to Selwyn River
  • SH1 Timaru to St Andrews corridor
  • SH1 Rakaia to Ashburton corridor.

We’re funding two roundabouts to improve safety at the Shands Road/Trents Road and Shands Road/Hampton Road intersections. These improvements will accommodate increased traffic volumes following the opening of the Southern Motorway.

We are working with Timaru District Council on a plan to better manage freight movement through the industrial area of Washdyke, north of the city.

The regional package of the NZ Upgrade Programme is investing $5 million for pull-over areas in the Mackenzie Basin on SH8, SH79 and SH80.


In the north, we have substantially completed a major realignment of SH7 at Sylvia Flats, west of the Hanmer Springs turnoff. This realignment is required to prevent the Lewis River from cutting into the highway and threatening the route, which is a vital link between the east and west coasts of the South Island.

We’re supporting Hurunui District Council in its planning to replace the Conway River Bridge on the Inland Road (Route 70). The current structure is reaching the end of its life.

Under the 2021–24 Rail Network Investment Programme, investment will be targeted at the vital main freight and long-distance passenger lines that connect Canterbury to ports and the other regions. Most of the investment focus is on improving bridge and track quality to reduce derailment risks, improve drainage, stabilise slopes and enhance river and coastal protection.

Keeping the land transport system well maintained and safe is a large part of the annual investment in the Canterbury region and Greater Christchurch area. This money ensures the transport system is safer, more reliable and easier to use, helping to keep communities connected and supporting economic growth.

Completed, underway or about to start

  • Safer speeds were announced for SH73 and SH75, from Christchurch to Akaroa, making travel on this popular tourist route safer and more enjoyable for everyone.
  • Significant progress was made on the suite of NZ Upgrade Programme projects, which will provide Cantabrians with more travel options and improved safety. Work got underway on two projects, one at Weedons Ross Road in West Melton and other on Walnut Avenue in Ashburton, both aimed at making travel safer.
  • A low-noise asphalt surface was laid on the Christchurch Northern Motorway early in 2022. We also installed safety barrier between Cam River and Tram Road, and upgraded the Ohoka Road off-ramp. Scheduled re-sealing will be carried out between the Lineside Road overpass and the Cam River later in the year.
  • Low-noise asphalt was laid on the Southern Motorway in 2021 and planning shifted to highway safety upgrades between Rolleston Drive North and Dunns Crossing/Walkers Roads (part of the NZ Upgrade Programme package of works for Canterbury). Community feedback was received on revised plans for a multi-modal flyover at Rolleston in July 2022.
  • Innovation was brought to the streets of Christchurch with five Streets for People projects that successfully trialled new ways of using bright paint and street furniture to re-allocate street space for safe walking and cycling.
  • Emergency works to repair the Ashburton River/Hakatere Bridge following a major flooding event, quickly restored full access to the main South Island freight route and reconnected the Mid-Canterbury town.
  • Planning and design work for shared use paths on SH75 Cooptown and SH8 Pleasant Point, improved on-road cycle infrastructure on SH74 (linking to Christchurch City Council's major cycle routes), roadside shoulder widening for sections of SH8 Tekapo, as well as guardrail along parts of the Hilltop on SH75 to Akaroa.

Funding overview

NLTP Investment in 2021/22 Forecast investment for 2021-24
Total $421 million $1.3 billion
Maintenance and operations  $223 million $675 million
Public transport investment $77 million $252 million
Walking and cycling $8.3 million $14 million
Road to Zero (safety)  $17 million $80 million
Network improvements  $76 million $167 million

Overview map

Canterbury map 2022

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