World class bus hub gets moving
Construction of Christchurch's $53 million bus interchange is a step closer after contractors took control of the site.
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee yesterday announced the interchange would be built as a joint venture between Australian company Thiess and Christchurch's Southbase, whose parent company is owned by Canterbury rich-listers Philip Carter and Ben Gough.
The 14,000-square-metre facility will be located between Sol Square and Tuam, Colombo and Lichfield streets.
BUS HUB SITE TIME-LAPSE
AIRPORT-STYLE LOUNGES, SHOPS, CAFES
Key features include airport-style lounges, shops, a cafe and dedicated waiting zones, as well as secure bicycle storage facilities, easy access to taxi ranks on Colombo St and regional bus bays on Lichfield St.
Brownlee said reducing inner- city speeds to 30kmh would make travelling into the city by bus and walking or cycling to work a "much more attractive prospect".
The bus interchange will be the central anchor point of Environment Canterbury's (ECan) proposed hubs for public transport.
ECan plans to have five core bus services that would travel across town every 10 to 15 minutes, all passing through the new interchange.
There will also be new "super stops" on Manchester St, at Christchurch Hospital, and suburban hubs at Papanui and Riccarton.
Construction on the foundations begins next month, and the facility is expected to be operational by mid-2015.
Southbase chief executive Quin Henderson said the company had been looking for "smarter and more efficient ways to build" because resources were extremely tight in the market.
"Thiess have some very good experience in hospitals and large projects and infrastructure. We're just pretty stoked we've won the job," he said.
Southbase was keen to be involved in other developments in central Christchurch, and was working with the Carter Group on the recently announced 534-space car park building nearby, Henderson said.
"We're building them together to lessen the impact, just trying to make life easy for everybody.
"It's going to be awesome . . . to get some life down at that end of Cashel Mall."
Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) director Warwick Isaacs last month said a proposed precinct around the bus interchange would be delayed "based on feedback from potential developers".
The original proposal said there were opportunities for "unique and exciting" mixed-use development, including residential, retail, hotels, commercial, leisure and entertainment.
A CCDU spokeswoman yesterday said the expressions of interest process was still being "redefined" and the public would be informed when it was restarted. The bus interchange would not be affected.
ECan commissioner Rex Williams said the new interchange was "a clear sign that our city is back and functioning".
"Everyone has said they want an accessible city and a highly- efficient public transport system will allow the space for the future city we said we want to emerge. Pedestrian and cycle friendly spaces can't be created without changes to the way the public travel," he said.
"It has been important to get the right design for the interchange and with the amount of work that gone into this design, we know it will be a world-class facility."