Chch roadworks to ramp up

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 14/02/2013
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Don't talk to me about roadworks - I've turned into a road rage monster since the quakes

It's annoying, but there are worse things

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Christchurch motorists should not expect any quick respite from seemingly endless roadworks, detours and road closures across the city.

Repair work on and below earthquake-hit roads is ramping up, meaning more, rather than less, frustration for drivers negotiating cramped streets clogged with traffic.

On the plus side, motorists have won praise from police for their patience with the ever-changing labyrinth on Christchurch's streets.

The Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (Scirt) website says 98 projects are under way in the city, costing $292.4 million.

A further 230 projects totalling almost $1.5 billion are in the design or concept stage.

Scirt's website includes maps and timetables for works underway and planned.

A Scirt spokeswoman said most of the projects would affect road users, but the work had to be done to rebuild the city's quake-damaged roads and water networks.

Commuters in west Christchurch - many of them relocated workers from central-city offices - are next in line for delays set to last months.

A new wastewater pipe will be installed in Birmingham Dr in Middleton from today to service planned growth areas in the city's southwest.

Traffic will be reduced to one-way flowing east, and the four-month project is expected to affect Blenheim and Lincoln roads.

Yesterday, work starting in Moorhouse Ave meant restricted access to Manchester and Madras streets. That project will take a fortnight.

Major detours at the Linwood Ave-Aldwins Rd-Buckleys Rd intersection may soon be lifted, with the project scheduled to finish in four days.

Richmond has the highest number of road closures of any suburb in the city, with 23 marked on the Transport for Christchurch website.

Other parts of the city have been subject to detours and delays, with only the northwest spared.

The Press visited a selection of major roadworks spots to gauge how motorists were coping.

Responses ranged from "necessary evil" to "p..... off", but most said they managed to stay calm.

Police have been impressed with the "tolerance" of drivers overall.

Road rage had not noticeably increased despite "congestion in places there never used to be", Sergeant Pete Daly said.

In Richmond, geologist Angie Hoffer, 24, of Mairehau, said "it's not too bad" as she did not have to drive far.

However, her father's commute across town took 40 minutes each way because of detours.

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"You have to be patient with it," she said.

In Linwood, Wainoni carpenter Luke Wilkinson drove at least 10 kilometres a day around the city and found the roadworks in Wainoni, Avonside and Shirley the worst.

The works could be better managed to coincide with traffic flows, he said.

"It's all pretty bad everywhere, really. It's a pain," he said.

Dallas Aubrey said Linwood was the worst spot.

A taxi driver, who did not want to be named, said the roads were "horrible".

"Every road is different, every day is different. You get different customers and you go around the corner and it's blocked off, and they say, 'Oh my God, more money'. You've got to turn around and go the other way. It's terrible."

Tyler Ashcroft said: "[It's] annoying, but what can you do? You can't do anything about it. There's no point getting all flustered about it. It's not going to make it get done faster."

A Sumner motorist waiting in a queue near the Ferrymead bridge works said driving in the city was not so bad, "but out this way it's pretty awful".

In St Martins, Jacqui Stewart, of Halswell, said traffic delays were challenging but the "reality" of living in Christchurch.

"You just allow for it. It is tiring at the end of the day,'' she said.

''If you are late because there's traffic and road works, some days you are spending all day saying you're sorry."

At the Lyttelton St-Frankleigh St-Sparks Rd roundabout in Spreydon, carpet layer Brent Ringdahl, of Avondale, said the roadwords did "p... you off".

"Just the inconvenience. I'm trying to get to Hoon Hay Rd and I couldn't go up there, so I'm having to come up here. And the customer is there waiting for me," he said.

BY THE NUMBERS

- 98 projects started, 230 on the way.

- 1000 kilometres of new roads.

- 400km of new sewer mains.

- 100+km of new water mains.

- $2.2 billion budget.

- The Press

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