Opened street brings relief for commuters

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 08:19 30/04/2012
Madras St bike race
David Hallett

COMPETITIVE: From left Gary Knowles, Roger Sutton, race winner Don Elder, Bob Parker and Jo Parker.

bob parker
DAVID HALLETT/FAIRFAX NZ
SMALL VICTORY: Celebrating the opening of Madras St with a cycle race yesterday are Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker, left, and Cera chief executive Roger Sutton.

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Christchurch commuters battling bottlenecks and backups will have some relief after a key one-way reopens.

The cordon was lifted from the remaining closed section of Madras St, between Tuam St and Latimer Square, yesterday afternoon.

The reopening delighted residents, who said it would ease congestion and bottlenecks on busy Fitzgerald Ave, which had been the closest route north for months.

Chester St resident Simone Pearson took her children Sean, 7, and Frances, 5, to watch a bike race on Madras St to celebrate.

"This makes it much easier to get around," she said.

"Up until now we have had to go up Moorhouse Ave, and round Fitzgerald Ave to reach our house, and so have half of Christchurch."

Pearson said she and her friends in the CBD would regularly share updates on cordon movements and little-known shortcuts on Facebook to avoid heavy traffic.

Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive Roger Sutton said the reopening was a small but important victory.

"It's a small thing but we have to celebrate things in Christchurch, because all these little things are progress.

"For people getting to work [today] this is going to make a significant difference to their commute times."

Sutton, along with Mayor Bob Parker, Mayoress Jo Nicholls-Parker, Solid Energy's Don Elder and Canterbury police district commander Superintendent Gary Knowles, officially opened Madras St with the bike race. Elder was declared winner of the short sprint.

The one-way thoroughfare had been closed for more than a year as earthquake repairs went ahead.

The Madras St reopening leaves only parts of Lichfield, Durham and Kilmore streets closed of the city's eight one-way streets cordoned off after the February 2011 quake.

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