Southbound Third Lane Confirmed

The Waimakariri District Council welcomes today’s decision by Environment Canterbury confirming the addition of a third southbound lane on the Waimakariri bridge.

The additional lane is expected to be in commission sometime in 2020.20170921_Waimakariri Bridge

“It’s a good result for commuters who use the bridge heading into the city,” acting Waimakariri Mayor, Neville Atkinson says.

“Not only will the extra high occupancy lane save people time spent in traffic, there are potential economic benefits as well for Waimakariri.”

Mr Atkinson says improvements that ease motorway congestion will further enhance Waimakariri as a location for residential and business opportunities.

The ECan council approved a variation to the original Regional Land Transport Plan, allowing for the third southbound lane.

The recommendation to vary the plan was made in August by the Canterbury Regional Transport Committee, on the basis that the third southbound lane will operate as a high occupancy vehicle lane during the morning peak, and that a new cycle lane will be attached to the bridge.

Environment Canterbury say the high occupancy lane will be a first for the region, and will encourage motorists to think about how they travel.

Carpooling, public transport use and cycling will all be promoted alongside the construction of the new lane.

The New Zealand Transport Agency and councils will work closely with the New Zealand Police on education, monitoring and enforcement once the lane is complete.

“When you add it to the Western Belfast by-pass, which is in the home straight in terms of completion, commuters are going to notice a big difference very soon,” Mr Atkinson says.

The Waimakariri Bridge Improvement variation was proposed by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) as part of a wider programme of work on the Christchurch Northern Corridor, undertaken in consultation with stakeholders.

The public consultation on the proposed variation took place earlier this year. Of the 177 submissions received, 86.5% supported the proposal.

While the additional lane represents an investment of $20 million, doing the work now as part of Christchurch Northern Corridor project will provide a saving of approximately $14 million than if the third lane was to be constructed at a later date.

Quick Questions:

What will the changes be to Christchurch’s Northern Motorway?

The changes include:

*             A third southbound lane over the Waimakariri Bridge which will be operated as a high occupancy vehicle lane during the morning peak.

*             A cycle lane attached to the eastern side of the Waimakariri Bridge, creating a safe cycle link between Christchurch’s Mayor Cycleway Network and the cycle network in Waimakariri.

Work is underway to determine the exact location and length of the high occupancy vehicle lane.

These changes are part of a wider programme of work identified in the NZTA State Highway One Picton to Christchurch Programme Business Case.

What is a high occupancy vehicle lane?

A high occupancy vehicle lane can be used by vehicles with two or more passengers. It can also be used by express bus services and emergency vehicles. The intended use of the additional lane is to carry more people in fewer vehicles, thereby improving travel reliability for everyone.

What is the need for the high occupancy vehicle lane?

With the number of trips on Christchurch’s Northern Motorway expected to grow by 25% in the next eight years and by 50% by 2041, the current 85% single occupancy vehicle use on Christchurch’s Northern Motorway is not sustainable. Carpooling, greater public transport use and cycling – all of which will be promoted alongside construction of the third southbound lane – need to be a core part of North Canterbury’s future integrated transport network.

Contact: Matt McIlraith

Phone: 0800 965 468