Red zone reduces as New Regent St opens
Red zone reduces giving access to PGC siteCHARLIE GATES AND FRANCESCA LEE
Rain pattered on the roofs of empty shops and lonely mannequins stared out onto the quiet pavement of the newly reopened New Regent St.
A few brave souls donned rain coats and umbrellas to follow the yet unopened tram tracks before the festivities of the day began.
"I'm stoked [about the street reopening]," said Mike Fisher, who brought his two sons out for a walk in the street.
"Obviously we haven't been in town much for a couple of years."
He used to take the boys, Sam, 6, and Will, 4, for tram rides into Cathedral Square for hot dogs, and he was looking forward to being able to do that again.
PGC access opened
Access to the PCG site, where 18 died, has been opened to the public as the red zone reduces further ahead of New Regent St's opening.
Cordons are being taken down in three separate areas ahead of the re-opening of New Regent St.
A handful of guests were invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony at New Regent St on Friday night. However, the public will not be given access until 9am on Saturday.
Pedestrians will be able to access the historic street from both ends with the opening up of Armagh St in the north, and Gloucester in the south, though the latter will be temporarily closed to traffic.
A section of Cambridge Terrace, west of Manchester Street, will open this evening, providing the public with access to the PGC site, where 18 people lost their lives in the February 2011 earthquake.
The third area to reopen tonight, for pedestrians only, is along the city-side of the Avon River between Hereford and Armagh Streets.
This will create a walkway from ReStart Mall through to Victoria Square and the Pallet Pavillion.
Meanwhile, work is continuing at New Regent St to ready it for its public reopening tomorrow.
The final paving stones were laid this morning after months of restoration work to strengthen, repair, repaint and retile the shops and pedestrian areas.
Five shops will be open this weekend, with about 11 more reopening in coming months.
The reopening of the street for the first time since the February 2011 quakes will be celebrated with salsa dancing, vintage cars and live music this weekend.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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