Christchurch's heavily-congested Northern Motorway - feeding commuters from Kaiapoi, Rangiora and surrounding areas - is under strain. Nth.Canterbury's population has grown three times faster than forecast, due to EQ-effected families moving into
|Chch's Northern Motorway, on a good day...|
That's bleak news for traffic-weary commuters already facing lengthy waits at peak times. The problem is quite variable: journeys can take 40 minutes one day and then the same journey on a different day, at the same time, can be more than an hour. The 1.2km drive from the old Waimak Bridge to the edge of Belfast last week took 22 minutes! It seems the morning rush hour is now basically any time between 6.15am and 9.30am.
Waimakariri District Council, NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and Christchurch Transport Operations Centre (CTOC) are scrambling to find interim solutions until the multimillion-dollar motorway project planned for 2017-2020 can be built. NZTA is building a four-lane highway between QEII Drive and the existing Northern Motorway. A western corridor, including a four-lane highway from The Groynes to the centre of Hornby and a bypass around Belfast, is also planned but both are still at the consent stage.
Note that this is not four lanes in either direction - just four lanes in total, a concept which is not future-proofed and is already outdated by the population shift! These extra roads only address feeding traffic to the motorway itself: they do not address the bottleneck that exists from that point onwards!
Following the earthquakes, the future is here. Now. And winter is coming. Again...