Work gets underway this week on the Manchester Street transport project, which is part of An Accessible City – the transport Chapter of the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan.
Work includes widening the road corridor from Kilmore to Lichfield Street to create bus priority lanes, and widening and landscaping footpaths so that commuters and pedestrians can more easily access and move around the Central City. Downer was awarded the contract for the work which is expected to take around 15 months.
Christchurch City Councillor Phil Clearwater, Chair of the Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee says, "The aim is to provide a travel network to meet the current and future needs of all inner city travellers across a range of travel modes, and a compact, people-friendly city centre. It's exciting to see another piece of work commence – it means that we're one step closer to that end goal."
The work gives priority for buses along Manchester Street from the Bus Interchange to Kilmore Street.
“The project provides bus passenger waiting facilities that are sheltered from the weather and real-time travel information at the stops,” Rex Williams, Environment Canterbury Commissioner says.
Albert Brantley, Chief Executive of Ōtākaro Limited says, "Two-way traffic will be maintained during initial works, however street parking will be restricted around the work sites. Downer will keep disruption to a minimum and ensure people are advised ahead of time if there are travel impacts. I urge people to continue to support the businesses in this area during construction."
The project is part of the wider An Accessible City programme that focuses on providing better Central City travel choices for people, no matter how they travel. The key transport themes and projects were initially informed by feedback during the Council's 2011 post-earthquake 'Share an Idea' campaign. Public consultation on the scheme design for the Manchester Street transport project took place in April /May 2015 and was approved by the Council on 10 September 2015.
An Accessible City is being delivered by Christchurch City Council and Ōtākaro Limited, and has been developed in partnership with the New Zealand Transport Agency, Environment Canterbury and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.
The Transport Agency's Southern Regional Director Jim Harland says it is great to see the next stage of the An Accessible City started and the city's new transport network taking shape.
"The Transport Agency is excited about Christchurch’s new transport network and proud to be investing on behalf of the Government in a network that supports opportunities for growing public transport, safe cycling and walking," Mr Harland says.
Partners in An Accessible City thank Christchurch people for their patience during this next phase of construction. Commuters should check www.tfc.govt.nz for up to date information on closures or disruptions.
Artist impression of the widened Manchester Street