Motorway to carve through 'pride and joy'

RACHEL YOUNG AND NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 10:45 25/02/2013

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A Templeton couple say they will lose some of their "pride and joy" to make way for the Christchurch Southern Motorway.

Kevin and Bonnie Williams had lived in Marshs Rd, where they ran the Tall Tree Stud, for 25 years.

"It's our pride and joy. I have to say we're quite sad to see it happen, but I do recognise it's the price of progress and for the better for the community," Kevin Williams said.

They expected to lose about a third of their 68-hectare property to the motorway, which would force them to downsize their business.

However, the couple had no plans to relocate.

"I like where I live," Williams said. "This is my life and my lifestyle and having been here 25 years I don't see that there's any good reason why I should [move]."

The motorway was first discussed about 60 years ago, and had been in Christchurch's regional transport plans for more than 50.

Consultation on the proposed motorway between Halswell Junction Rd and Main South Rd began in October 2010 and some property owners had been bought out more than a year ago.

The project also involves upgrading a section of the existing Main South Rd (State Highway 1) to four lanes.

NZ Transport Authority state highway manager Colin Knaggs said the project would affect about 75 properties, depending on the final design of the chosen route and the layout of interchanges and road overpasses. However, fewer than 12 buildings and houses would need to be removed.

A public meeting on the motorway extension will be held tonight.

Some residents are welcoming the new motorway into their neighbourhood.

Neil Gardner had wanted to sell his Marshs Rd property, but the motorway development made him decide to stay in the area longer because it was now easier to drive into central Christchurch.

Shayne and Karen Richardson's home was originally in the way of the second stage of the motorway, but it would now bypass their property.

"Even if our house was in the way, we'd still think it was a good thing," Shayne Richardson said. "I think it's going to improve people's lifestyles out here."

It used to take 30 minutes to drive from their house to Colombo St, but the journey took only seven minutes since the first stage of the motorway opened.

Richardson said the second stage could also make the roads safer for motorists.

"There's so much extra traffic on Marshs Rd now and so many hoons go up and down. We've had two major accidents at the intersection [with Shands Rd] in the last two weeks - I'm really hoping that the motorway will take some of the stress off these intersections."

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NZ Transport Authority (NZTA) state highway manager Colin Knaggs said some affected property owners had expressed concerns, but the NZTA had tried to minimise the impact where possible.

"They will have every opportunity to express these concerns as part of the consenting process which is currently underway."

It was not yet known how much would be spent on acquiring property and land as negotiations were still continuing, he said.

Construction is not expected to begin until late 2015 and the motorway will take about three years to complete.

- The Press

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