$195 million road gets underway

DEVELOPMENT: The NZ Transport Agency has released a flyover video showing what the completion of the Christchurch Southern Motorway will look like.

Work has begun on a $195 million motorway project tipped to drastically improve congestion problems for motorists commuting between Halswell and Rolleston.

It is estimated peak travel journey times between the southern corridor, Halswell Junction Rd to north of Robinsons Rd near Rolleston, is expected to be shortened from about 30 minutes to 15.

The NZ Transport Agency spokeswoman said the project is expected to reduce fatal and serious crashes by 40 per cent.

A sod turning ceremony attended by Prime Minister John Key was held on Friday as work commenced on stage 2 of the Christchurch Southern Motorway.

The project will see the current four-lane motorway extended by 13km through to Main South Rd, just north of Rolleston.

The motorway will be made up of a new section of four-lane median separated motorway and will reduce high traffic volumes on State Highway 1.

An NZ Transport Agency spokeswoman said it expected a 40 per cent reduction in fatal and serious crashes.

Transport minister Simon Bridges said construction of this intersection and the Christchurch Northern corridor which also began work on Friday would see half a billion dollars injected into Canterbury.

The project is aimed to reduce the number of deaths on the city’s motorways as well as connect the centre of the town to the growing populations on the outskirts of the city.

The Christchurch Roads of National Significance programme covers three corridors – Northern, Western and Southern. Stage 1 of the Southern Motorway was completed in December 2012 with Stage 2 scheduled for completion in early 2020.

Completion of the new Christchurch Northern Corridor is also scheduled for 2020. The Western Corridor is scheduled for completion in 2018.

As part of the Christchurch Southern Motorway Stage 2 project a southern grass skink relocation habitat has been set up which can take more than 200 skinks.

Prime Minister John Key and others at the sod turning released 26 which can been found around the site today into their new habitat.