I had a bit of a poke around some of the works going on in relation to the Christchurch Southern Motorway this weekend, although I wasn’t able to get around all the sites I would have liked to. Driving along the motorway, the formation where the two additional lanes that will eventually carry southbound traffic, along the section being duplicated, is very clear, although it looked a little rough. The flyover for Lincoln Rd appears to be one of the last big structures still requiring some progress. The Curletts Rd interchange looked to be well on the way toward being completed (NZTA announced traffic layout changes associated with finishing work yesterday), although I was unable to pull over to take a photo. All up, I thought it was quite remarkable that the motorway will not open until 2013, as quite a bit of progress has been made. Anyway…
This is at the Awatea Rd overbridge site, and is the new section of motorway that will link Halswell Junction Rd with the end of the upgraded motorway at Curletts Rd. As you can see, the motorway carriageway is now quite well-formed:
This is on Wrights Rd, where the existing two-lane “motorway” is being duplicated to four-lanes. The flyover for the existing “motorway” is behind the works for the flyover that will carry two additional lanes of traffic (apologies for the poor quality of the second photo!):
This is the Lincoln Rd flyover. Nice to see the abutments have been designed to look the same as those for the existing bridge:
Here we are at Barrington St. This interchange appears largely completed, with work continuing on the new section of motorway that will terminate into Brougham St a short distance to the left, and on the duplication of the motorway toward where the previous photos were taken toward the right. The old motorway ended at the traffic lights on the right of the photo, behind the van.
Finally, here are a couple of photos of the motorway works past the Barrington St interchange, where the motorway will come to an end at the Brougham/Collins St intersection. Unfortunately, I did not get a better view, but the embankment has been built up quite substantially and looks like it requires only the finer touches now:
The project essentially completes plans originally drawn up in the 1960’s. The first stage is what currently exists between Barrington St and Curletts Rd, which was completed in 1981. The next planned stage was to take the motorway to Halswell Junction Rd, and then subsequent stages would have extended the motorway further south toward Rolleston. However, the project never got beyond stage one – until now – and the first stage was considerably watered down, being only one lane in each direction. In fact it even lost its motorway status in later years.
The first stage of the current Christchurch Southern Motorway project completes the existing motorway by duplicating it and providing full grade separation, while also extending the motorway to Halswell Junction Rd. The CSM2 and MSRFL projects will largely complete the original motorway plans taking the motorway to the south of Templeton and providing an expressway standard State Highway One to Rolleston, a total distance of about 22km. Plans to extend the motorway into the CBD, thankfully, appear to have been abandoned for good.