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Work begins for An Accessible City

Work begins for An Accessible City

The implementation of the transport chapter of the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan takes a significant step forward today, as the company appointed to design and oversee construction of the three major projects within phase one begins its work.

Multi-national company URS, supported by a range of sub-consultants including Jasmax architects, Aurecon, Align and QTP, is tasked with delivering three components of the An Accessible City plan.

This includes the major roading changes in the Oxford Terrace/Tuam Street area known as hospital corner. This area will see a major transformation, starting with the closure of Oxford Terrace between Antigua Street and Durham Street to through-traffic. It will become a key pedestrian route as part of the Avon River Precinct and provide links for cyclists and pedestrians to the city’s other new green spaces.

Tuam Street will become one-way with a new separated cycleway within a slower and more attractive and green streetscape, implementing the 30 km/hr slow core. A new bus ‘super stop’ will also be located near the hospital.

URS’ work programme will also include the widening of Manchester Street to create a 29m-wide tree–lined boulevard that will comprise dedicated bus lanes in each direction, as well as general traffic, cycle lanes and sidewalks.

The new Manchester Boulevard will also be home to the other bus super stop identified in the An Accessible City plan, and which will serve the inner CBD and East Frame.
The third component of the URS contract will be the work required to enhance parts of Cambridge Terrace/Durham Street South, which forms the south-bound one-way system.

This will include some localised widening near the Justice and Emergency Services Precinct, as well as providing a seamless link with the Avon River Precinct including creation of a new separated cycleway. This will ensure the best possible integration between the road and river and cement the new slow core philosophy by creating the right speed environment to implement the 30km/h restriction.

The director of the Christchurch Central Development Unit Warwick Isaacs, says the beginning of URS’ contract is an exciting part of the city’s progress.

“One of the more essential parts of this city rebuild is ensuring that all of the Anchor Projects link up and support each other, as envisioned by those who designed the Blueprint in 2012. This transport component, which is the plan we call An Accessible City, is an important part of the jigsaw because it must set the scene for the new movement network, and establish a benchmark for design quality in the city.”

“Alongside the Avon River Precinct, these projects will make real the vision of a green, vibrant, accessible and prosperous city: not just making roads for cars, but making them human scale and welcoming for people to walk, cycle, drive and gather within. These are the sort of things that make a city great.”

Mr Isaacs says the URS work programme will be closely aligned to the work being carried out by the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT), particularly the infrastructure work that needs to happen in order for the hospital corner work to physically begin.

These enabling works are being contracted through SCIRT in a separate process to that being managed under the URS contract.

URS is a highly regarded engineering and project management consulting firm with offices in Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington and Tauranga, and a total of 50,000 staff across 50 countries. Aurecon and Jasmax are also international firms, and with Align and QTP, all have strong local offices, bringing the best of local and international expertise to this project.

Its Project Director Andrew Whaley says having the opportunity to play such a crucial role in the rebuild of inner Christchurch is a privilege.

“Our own staff who live and work here are intricately aware of how immense this rebuild is, which makes it all the more important to URS to be taking on this important phase of the transport chapter, all way through the design to construction.”

Phase one of An Accessible City’s work programme is budgeted at $72M, of which this contract will deliver $56M and will take until December 2015 to complete.


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