The second stage of Christchurch's western corridor upgrade has opened to motorists.
State Highway 1 at Johns Rd, from Sawyers Arms to Harewood Rds, opened to four lanes of traffic yesterday.
The opening allows motorists to once again travel at 80kmh along the stretch of highway.
NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) regional state highway manager Colin Knaggs said the upgrade had been scheduled for opening in February, but was completed early.
The western corridor is one of three highways in Christchurch's roads of national significance programme, improving traffic corridors to the west, south and north of the city.
Knaggs said the projects were critical for supporting Christchurch's rebuild and the region's economic growth by linking the Christchurch Airport, Lyttelton Port and the central city.
The next part of the western corridor to be completed would be the four-laning of Carmen and Masham roads mid-2014.
The road would then have four-lanes open to motorists from Avonhead Rd to Main South Rd.
Knaggs said good progress was being made on the overall project.
"This is a big project. It involves upgrading 12kms of existing highway and intersection improvements, including a Gateway Bridge at Memorial Avenue and a Southern Airport interchange near Avonhead Road, and the construction of 4kms of new road," he said.
The full project is expected to be completed in 2018-19, providing a four-laned expressway from north of Belfast to Hornby.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Why are fewer teens learning to drive?Related story: Teen non-drivers lazy 'narcissists'