Agreement has been reached to keep the trams operating while paving work is completed on the section of track through Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct’s The Terraces, says Christchurch Central Development Unit Director Baden Ewart.
The Terraces connect the Retail Precinct’s hospitality area to the river between Hereford and Cashel Streets. The section of road has been closed to pedestrians since 11 January but the tram has been allowed to continue operating through the site. Work now needs to start on paving in between and adjacent to the tracks.
“Until New Regent St is open to trams again, the trams will operate slightly reduced hours, and at set times through The Terraces construction site. This will give the crews an opportunity to get the work done,” Mr Ewart says.
“Once New Regent Street opens The Terraces site will close to let workers finish paving between the tracks. The aim is to have all the work finished by the school holidays, but if that doesn’t happen then we’ll reopen the route and complete the work later in May.”
Mr Ewart says CCDU has worked closely with the tourism company Welcome Aboard over the past three years to ensure its trams and punts could resume service as soon as possible.
The punts were able to work inside the CBD’s red zone cordon from August 2012, and a new hand-dug channel as part of the River Precinct works will enable the punts to travel in both directions along the river for the first time.
A new punt stop has been built at the Margaret Mahy Family Playground to create more opportunities for Welcome Aboard customers to explore the city.
“We regard Welcome Aboard’s tram service as a key attraction in the CBD and we are pleased to be able work together with this iconic tourism business to allow business, visitors and construction activity to continue,” Mr Ewart says.
Welcome Aboard’s Managing Director Michael Esposito says he is pleased that a solution has been found.
“We have a good working relationship with CERA. Keeping the trams running is obviously good for us, but it’s also good for the retailers and for the city in general.”
Antony Gough, the Christchurch Central Business Association chairperson, is also happy with the result.
“It shows great collaboration between all parties – CERA, the tram company and the Council. I’m thrilled that we’ve found a solution that keeps the trams running.”