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Environment Court confirms Christchurch’s Blenheim Rd deviation

21 December 2004

Christchurch City Council is pleased that the Environment Court has confirmed its plans to construct a bypass from Blenheim Road to the corner of South Hagley Park at Moorhouse Avenue.

"We've very pleased," says project manager Ross Herrett. "It's taken a while to sort out, but we'll get into final design and engineering and we're on track to start construction in about July next year and complete the road by early 2007."

It was in December 2000 that the City Council first agreed to proceed with the project. The designation, awarded in December 2002, drew several appeals but these have all now been withdrawn.

The Environment Court made its decision late last month, and the City Council has waited until now to announce the outcome because it wanted to be sure there was no possibility of further litigation on the matter.

The Council's forward budgets include about $11 million for this project. In February Mr Herrett will present a new set of costings and timetables to the councillors. While some escalations are likely in the cost of construction, he says there are also some savings as a result of changes to the designs.

As well as removing a growing traffic bottleneck at the Blenheim Road-Deans Avenue roundabout and providing a more direct route for traffic to Moorhouse Avenue and the Central City, the new road is expected to create several other improvements for the city, including:

  • Allowing the creation of up to 250 car parks on the southern end of Deans Avenue for use by people visiting South Hagley Park
  • Removing the likely need for a major safety upgrade of the existing narrow bridge over the railway line at the eastern end of Blenheim Road
  • The great reduction in traffic along Deans Avenue between Moorhouse Avenue and Riccarton Road will further enhance the residential nature and safety of the areas bounding the park
  • The park end of Blenheim Road is expected to become a much stronger cycling and pedestrian link
  • The more direct route into the Central City’s south may encourage some traffic away from Riccarton Road.

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