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Project introduction

This project combines Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Northern Arterial (a new section of SH74 running from just south of the Waimakariri River to QEII Drive near Winters Rd) and two Christchurch City Council projects that link QEII Drive to Cranford St and four-lane Cranford St to Innes Rd.

Low noise asphalt rescheduled to ensure best results

The low noise asphalt for the CNC, due to start in late November, will now start early in the new year as one of the key ingredient ‘epoxy’ has been held up in the USA. 

We are very sorry to disappoint the residents near the CNC, as we know you wanted this final stage of the project to be completed as soon as possible.

The epoxy gives the low noise asphalt a significantly longer life and keeps its noise reducing powers for longer. It is produced in the USA and like many other products, it has been affected by shipping issues and disruptions caused by Covid-19 lockdowns worldwide.

  • Estimated project cost

    $290 million
  • Project type

    Roads of National Significance
  • Project status


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What is the CNC project?

The Christchurch Northern Corridor (CNC) will extend the Northern Motorway through to QEII Drive and Cranford Street and includes:

  • The addition of a third north and southbound lane on the Waimakariri Motorway Bridge and a clip-on cycle path.
  • A new four-lane motorway starting just south of the Waimakariri River to connect with QEII Drive near Winters Road and then continue through Cranford Basin to link with Cranford Street
  • An upgrade of QEII Drive to four lanes between Main North Road and Innes Road.
  • An upgrade of Cranford Street to four lanes to Innes Road and an improved Cranford/Innes intersection.
  • Off-road pedestrian and cycle facilities linking to existing and new cycle facilities in the area.

The CNC is the first alliance contract of this size in the South Island. It is an alliance between the NZ Transport Agency, Christchurch City Council, Fulton Hogan, Aurecon and Jacobs.

The project brings many benefits to the Christchurch and Canterbury community by unlocking space to provide safe solutions for all travel modes. The CNC project includes options for cyclists, pedestrians, private vehicles and freight, and allows for improved public transport routes and infrastructure. The CNC will make travel times in and out of Christchurch more reliable via all main routes – the CNC, Main North Road, Marshland Road and the Western Belfast Bypass (SH1).

This new motorway and its connections will be built to high modern safety standards and will move heavy traffic off suburban roads making them safer, encouraging walking, cycling and the use of public transport – especially through Redwood and Belfast. Improved efficiency of freight in and out of Christchurch and Lyttelton Port, and better access to the industrial growth area in Belfast is also expected.

For more details on the CNC project, download a copy of the overview map [PDF, 21 MB] pictured below.

CNC overview map


This new motorway will unlock future transport solutions the community wants; options for cyclists, pedestrians, private vehicles, freight and public transport. It is critical to supporting the continued growth of Christchurch as a liveable and accessible city, a business centre, the export hub for the South Island’s economy, and to improving journey times for commuters (many of these commuters have rebuilt their homes in North Canterbury following the earthquakes).


CNC benefit icons

Improved travel times – shorten travel times in and out of Christchurch and improve reliability via all main routes.

Improved access – All modes including freight will move more efficiently in and out of Christchurch and Lyttelton Port.

Safer streets – moving heavy traffic off suburban roads making them safer and encouraging walking, cycling and the use of public transport. The new motorway will be built to high modern safety standards.

Improved options for all modes – As well as the motorway, there will be an off-road cyclist/pedestrian route that includes safe access over the Waimakariri River. Space for an improved public transport corridor on Main North Road/Papanui Road and options for express routes, high occupancy vehicle lanes, park and ride and other facilities.

Economic growth – enable sustainable residential development in the north of Christchurch and support commercial and industrial development throughout Canterbury.

Reducing congestion

For more information on ways to reduce congestion on the Northern Motorway visit our Northern Corridor Congestion – Facts, Stats and Answers page.