Work starts on major Christchurch motorways
Construction starts this month on a $195 million motorway project aimed at speeding up traffic from Rolleston into central Christchurch.
The Southern Motorway stage two will connect Rolleston to the first stage of the motorway at Halswell Junction Rd.
Main South Rd between Rolleston and Robinsons Rd will be widened to two lanes each way, and a new motorway section will connect that with stage one.
Residents will not be able to drive directly off the motorway into their driveways, but a new local road will be built alongside the railway, opposite Jones Rd, to service properties on the western side of the existing Main South Rd.
Several smaller access roads will be built on the eastern side of the motorway.
There will be motorway interchanges at Weedons Rd in Rolleston, Robinsons Rd, Shands Rd, and Halswell Junction Rd, and a total of eight new bridges.
The motorway will provide better access for Selwyn District, one of the fastest-growing districts in the country.
The Southern Motorway contract was awarded to a joint venture between McConnell Dowell and Downer.
The project will double the traffic capacity between Christchurch and Rolleston.
A second motorway project, the Christchurch Northern Corridor, will run from the Waimakariri River to Cranford St and the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) expects it to reduce traffic on Main North Rd, Marshland Rd, and the SH1 Western Belfast Bypass.
An alliance between NZTA, the Christchurch City Council, Fulton Hogan, Aurecon, and Jacobs has taken the northern contract.
Work on both motorways will include landscaping, stormwater treatment, and noise control.
Prime Minister John Key, accompanied by Transport Minister Simon Bridges, local politicians and businesspeople, attended ceremonies on Friday at both sites.
"We've never done one opening or sod turning on one side of the city and then done a sod turning on the other in one day," said Key.
Together, the two motorway sections will cost the Government $435m, with the northern section costing $240m and the southern section costing $195m.
Key said they were part of almost $1 billion the Government was spending on improving the major roads around Christchurch.
NZTA planned to complete both sections in 2020.
As well as reducing commute times by up to a half, NZTA expects the new motorway to reduce fatal and serious crashes by 40 per cent.
By taking traffic – including 2000 trucks a day – away from the existing SH1 through Templeton and Hornby, it will also reduce congestion on that road.
There will be pedestrian and cycle paths linking into the existing network and other new cycleways.
Key also released the first of 25 skinks into a new "mokomoko sanctuary" designed to protect the lizards from construction works.