Third lane approved on Waimakariri bridge
Environment Canterbury (ECan) has given the green light to an extra lane and cycleway on the Waimakariri Bridge.
On Thursday, the council approved a variation to the regional land transport plan to allow a third southbound lane and a cycle facility to address congestion on the northern motorway between Christchurch and North Canterbury.
Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey was excited "the voice of the Waimakariri community was heard", while Papanui-Innes Community Board chairwoman Ali Jones was disappointed by the lack of support for rail.
ECan expects the additions, due to be completed in 2022, to cost about $20 million – $14 million less than adding the third lane at a later date. Work will start in 2018.
The third lane would be a "high occupancy vehicle" lane, promoting carpooling and public transport use, ECan acting chair Steve Lowndes said.
"The high occupancy vehicle lane will be a first for Christchurch, and will encourage motorists to think about how they travel.
"The immediate steps are to determine the exact location and length and a safe operating plan for the new lane."
Of the 177 submissions received during public consultation, 86.5 per cent supported the proposal.
Doocey, who petitioned for the additions, said ECan had developed an "integrated solution" connecting new cycle lanes either side of the Waimakariri Bridge with the wider Christchurch cycle network.
The old Waimakariri Bridge would be designated for buses, he said.
Jones said ECan's plan did not address congestion for southbound commuters once they reached Main North Rd and Cranford St.
"We continue to be disappointed by the focus on cars, and the lack of focus on rail."
She said the community board was working with Christchurch City Council to record and analyse where traffic went beyond Innes Rd.
The additional lane and cycle facility will be built as part of the Christchurch northern corridor project.