Ferrymead bridge traffic jams 2km long

Seaside commuters urged to 'be patient'

Last updated 14:02 01/03/2013
Ferrymead traffic jam
Dean Kozanic

AT A STANDSTILL: The city council is urging commuters to be patient.

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City-bound commuters travelling through Ferrymead say the temporary bridges are causing a major bottleneck.

The Ferrymead bridge was badly damaged in the quakes and is being demolished. A new $35 million bridge will replace it but is likely to take at least two years to build.

Until then, temporary bridges are carrying one-lane traffic in both directions.

Clifton Hill resident Neroli Allen wrote of her frustrations in a letter to The Press. "Three mornings this week I have queued for 15 minutes from the yacht club in Moncks Bay to get over the bridge.

"Today I left 15 minutes earlier, only to be confronted by the same stopped traffic at the same place, and still a 15 minute crawl to the bridge.

"This is not an inconvenience for a couple of weeks, or even a couple of months, which we would all endure without complaint. It is going to be for 2 1/2 years.

"And by that time, many more residents will have returned to their homes in Sumner, Redcliffs and the hills, so considerably more traffic will be using the route every day."

Exit Surf Shop employee Adam Percasky said traffic was usually fine but at peak times cars could be backed up to the Tunnel Rd roundabout almost 2 kilometres away.

"Sometimes it's pretty bad, maybe a five or 10 minute wait. It's pretty draining."

In the morning, traffic heading in to the city centre could often end up backed up as far as Redcliffs School, almost 3km away, he said.

But Fletcher Stanton, of the Redcliffs Residents' Association, said the buildup of traffic occurred only during the morning peak and most people accepted it.

"There are big buildups but what else can they do? I think they have done a brilliant job. People will just have to leave home 5 minutes earlier," Stanton said.

"The problem is that most cars going over the bridge only have one person in them."

Christchurch City Council transport and greenspace unit manager John Mackie said the council had not received any complaints about traffic in the morning peak but it was not unexpected.

The bridge could have been built bigger if the council had more money but it had to balance the economics against levels of service and "99 per cent" of the time the bridge performed well.

"To deal with the short peaks in the morning and night it didn't seem economic to go more than we have," Mackie said.

"I sympathise with people who are facing the delays but it is short-term. We're really asking for patience and tolerance," Mackie said.

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- The Press

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