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Safety drives proposed state highway access changes

25 November 2010

Safety drives proposed state highway access changes

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says safety will be improved for road users as a result of proposed access changes to the new four-laned section of State Highway 1 (SH1) from Wairakei Rd to Yaldhurst Rd.

This section of SH1 linking Hornby and Belfast is part of the Western Corridor section of the Christchurch Roads of National Significance (RoNS). There are seven RoNS projects based around New Zealand's five largest population centres. The RoNS are focused on moving people and freight between and within these centres more safely and efficiently.

NZTA Regional State Highways Manager Colin Knaggs says an independent safety audit of the preferred grade separated interchange options to replace the Memorial Ave and Russley Road roundabout has identified that there is insufficient room for Avonhead and Wairakei Road traffic to safely enter and exit SH1. To address this, the NZTA is proposing to close access from Avonhead Road on to this new four-laned highway. At Wairakei Road - only south bound traffic on SH1 will be able to exit left on to Wairakei Road.

Mr Knaggs said the decision to remove access to SH1 from Avonhead Rd and Wairakei Rd had not been taken lightly, and the safety of road users was the agency’s top priority.

“An independent safety audit clearly shows safety would be compromised if Avonhead Road and Wairakei Road traffic had direct access onto the new four-laned section of SH1,” Mr Knaggs said.

Further studies are being undertaken in the coming months to assess the effect of these proposed changes on the local area.

Mr Knaggs says SH1 (Russley Road)/Memorial Avenue intersection suffers from major congestion at peak travel times. This situation is compromising safety, increasing travel times and impacting on travel time reliability, to and from the airport. Pedestrians and cyclists are also poorly catered for with the current intersection layout. This project will address these issues.

A newsletter outlining the proposed changes will be delivered to local residents this week. Mr Knaggs said he encouraged people to attend an open day at the Russley Golf Club on Tuesday 30th November from 3:30 to 7:30pm. Extra project information will be available and NZTA staff will be available to answer questions about the project. More information will be made be available on-line from next week at www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/christchurch-motorways/

ENDS

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