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Our investment in Canterbury is focused on making the roading network safer, while still ensuring improved access to Christchurch’s significant freight and tourism hubs such as Lyttelton Port and Christchurch Airport.

Supporting these objectives is the investigation into the future of public transport, the potential of a rapid transit corridor, and innovative ways to promote greater use of cycling and pedestrian facilities.

The Canterbury region produces 57% of the South Island’s GDP and consequently freight is a significant source of road and rail traffic through Canterbury. The completion of the northern and southern arterial motorways in 2020 will support safer and more reliable journeys into the city. Work to improve safety at Canterbury’s rural intersections, and safety in and around rural townships is ongoing.

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The Greater Christchurch Partnership (GCP), of which the Transport Agency is a member, is working to encourage transport mode shift within the city and wider region. This is part of a collaborative approach to address strategic challenges, including accessibility, as the city and the neighbouring districts of Waimakariri and Selwyn continue to adjust to the change in growth patterns following the earthquakes earlier this decade.

In the last 18 months

  • The $122 million Western Belfast Bypass opened in October 2017.
  • The $112 million Russley Road upgrade, including the Memorial Avenue Gateway Bridge, opened to the public in November 2017.
  • SH1 Barters Road/Pound Road improvements were completed in December 2017 ahead of schedule. The project involved realigning and extending Pound Road, constructing a new rail crossing, installing new traffic lights and creating new cycling and walking links.
  • A series of new shared paths have opened in Waimakariri District and Christchurch. These include the first section of the Quarryman’s trail and second section of the Rapanui – Shag Rock cycleways in Christchurch; and the Passchendaele memorial Path between Kaiapoi and Rangiora.
  • Safety barriers have been installed down the middle and on the sides of Queen Elizabeth II Drive, making it safer for motorists and cyclists and students walking to school in the area. We’ve also added road markings that are easier to see at night and in wet conditions. This project was completed in June 2019.
  • A pedestrian crossing has been installed on Frosts Road to improve safety for students attending the new Avonside Girls’ High School and Shirley Boys’ High School campus.
  • A major project was the completion of the alternative hazardous goods route over Evans Pass, from Sumner to Lyttelton, which had been closed since the 2011 earthquake. This was a complex and technical project to reinstate the road and protect road users from rock fall.

Underway or about to start

  • The $28.7 million project to install a new fire deluge system in the Lyttelton Tunnel will be completed in July 2019. The project will improve safety and reduced the risk of lengthy closures through the key transport route.
  • We will be completing construction of the Christchurch Southern Motorway and the Northern Arterial. Both motorways are due to be completed in 2020. They will provide for safer travel to the north and south of the city and provide better access for freight to and from the Christchurch International Airport, the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch and to and from freight hubs in the southwest of the city, supporting economic growth of not only Canterbury but the wider South Island.
  • We are investing in a High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane for the Northern Corridor and Travel Demand Management measures to support the shift to carpooling and other modes of travel.
  • We are also investigating a HOV lane on the Southern Motorway.
  • Continuing the progress on Christchurch’s major cycleway network to provide safe, alternative travel choices.
  • Planning safety and access improvements along and between Brougham Street and Moorhouse Avenue.

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Together with our partners, we are improving safety for all road users, including visiting drivers, in the Canterbury region. Work is underway to make high-risk highways in Canterbury safer for everyone who uses them.

In the last 18 months

  • When work on SH74 from Marshlands to Burwood in Christchurch and SH7 between Waipara to Waikari (which together total 16km) is completed in July/August 2019, 13.5km of barriers and 51.1km of road markings and rumble strips will have been installed.
  • An intersection speed zone will be installed at the intersection of SH1/SH79 (the Rangitata turn-off) intersection. This will temporarily reduce the speed on SH1 to 60km/h when drivers are turning onto the state highway.
  • Work is also underway to improve safety at level crossings at Kirk Road (SH1) in Christchurch; and Rangitata (SH79) in South Canterbury and the Transport Agency is investigating improvements to the SH1 Woodend urban corridor, so it is safer, more accessible and provides a good level of service for all users. The project is considering how best to connect the key areas including looking at walking and cycling, integration with bus stops and where best to route traffic.

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Regional development

In the north, investment in both the Kaikōura and Hurunui districts is focused on earthquake recovery and completing the rebuild of the state highway and the local road network.

To the west of Christchurch, on SH73 to the West Coast, the realignment of Mingha Bluff in Arthur’s Pass National Park is nearly complete, providing safer and improved access for freight between Canterbury and the West Coast.

In the south, safety improvements are focused on the section of SH1 from Rakaia to Ashburton.

Throughout the region, safety at intersections is a major concern for the wider Canterbury area. Several speed reviews are planned for the area: Burkes Pass, Glenavy, North Canterbury (Waikuku to Lineside Road), Tekapo, West Melton, Winchester and Yaldhurst.

Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment in Canterbury

PGF transport investment in Canterbury has focused on upgrading and developing the tourism experiences of KiwiRail’s TranzAlpine and Coastal Pacific trains. A total of $80 million is being invested into these two services.

Underway or about to start

  • The SH7 Waipara to Waikari (Weka Pass) project has seen the installation of safety barriers and is due to be completed in August 2019.
  • An intersection speed zone will be installed at the intersection of SH1/SH79 (the Rangitata turn-off). An intersection speed zone is an electronic sign that detects when someone is turning into or out of a side road and temporarily reduces the legal speed limit on the state highway (usually from 100 km/h to 60km/h or 70km/h).
  • Improvements at level crossings are occurring at Kirk Road (SH1) in Christchurch and Rangitata (SH79) in South Canterbury. Business cases are being developed for further SH1 improvements: north of Christchurch there is the Ashley to Belfast investigations, which are occurring alongside a business case for improvements in the township of Woodend.
  • Investigations into safety improvements south of Christchurch are focused on the section of SH1 from Rakaia to Ashburton. Improvements could include widening the centreline and/or putting in a median barrier to keep traffic apart and prevent head-on crashes. Also adding turn-around areas at regular intervals, installing sections of side barrier and laying rumble strips.
  • Work will progress on the detailed business case to design a second bridge across the Ashburton River, and associated improvements.
  • LED lighting replacement programme throughout most of Canterbury. LED lighting increases safety and significantly reduces energy use and on-going maintenance costs.
  • Work will continue through the Public Transport Futures Business Case to look at the future expansion of the region’s public transport network, including growth in network capacity and the frequency of services during the next 30 years. A key focus will be to investigate a mass transit system for the north and southwest routes where the city will experience the greatest patronage growth.
  • There will be service improvements to the public transport network, including a demand response trial in Timaru which will look at opportunities to make more effective use of technology in the network. This will be part of a much wider investigation into how public transport will meet growth demand.

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

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Canterbury remains committed to improving the environment, with all councils throughout the region planning to invest in additional LED lighting. Christchurch city is planning to spend $25 million to complete the transition of the city’s streetlights to LED.

Likewise, expanding the cycle and pedestrian network in the region will provide environmental benefits. North of Christchurch the motorway and HOV projects include shared use path connections north and south of the Waimakariri bridge and a new clip-on cycleway on the bridge.

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Investment in Canterbury

Forecast total investment $2.3 billion $1.9 billion
Forecast maintenance and operations $751 million $666 million
Forecast public transport investment $132 million $168 million
Forecast walking and cycling $49 million $42 million
Regional network improvements $717 million $771 million
Total Provincial Growth Fund   $40 million

The difference in funding reflects the Crown appropriation from the Kaikoura earthquake fund that was spread over the two National Land Transport Programme periods

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