The CNC Alliance (Fulton Hogan, NZTA, CCC, Aurecon, Jacobs) is getting many people excited about the new Christchurch Northern Corridor (CNC) motorway extension, due to open mid-2020. What not many people know is that along the motorway is a full-length shared-use path that takes cyclists from Cranford Street in Papanui over the Waimakariri Bridge into Kaiapoi and beyond.
As well as 12km of new motorway, the CNC project will deliver around 15 km of new and ungraded off-road paths for pedestrians and cyclists that will connect Christchurch with North Canterbury.
Given the popularity of electric bikes and scooters, an active commute to and from North Canterbury will be possible for many people, not just fit cyclists. The CNC’s path will separate cyclists from other traffic for its entire length and is set to be a well-used asset for many years to come.
The path starts at the Tram Road/Main North Road intersection and runs alongside the northern motorway. A 2.5m wide clip-on path on the Waimakariri Bridge will take pedestrians and cyclists safely over the river. The three-metre wide path then continues south making connections at Main North Road, Guthries Road, Belfast Road, Radcliffe Road, Prestons Road, QEII Drive, Grimseys Road, Winters Road, as well as Owen Mitchell Park and the future ‘Source to Sea’ pedestrian and cycle path along the Styx River.
The off-road shared cycle path runs through the Cranford Basin and then along Cranford Street to end at McFaddens Road. From McFaddens Road, a link is being built to connect the path to the Papanui Parallel cycle path that leads into the city via Rutland St, and an on-road cycle lane will be included on both sides of Cranford Street to Innes Road.
Cycle facilities on QEII Drive are being improved as part of the QEII Drive four-laning and will connect to the path at Grimseys Road and Winters Road.
The Christchurch Northern Corridor will also significantly reduce traffic on Main North Road (which will revert to being a local road, not a state highway) and Marshland Road, making these roads safer and more appealing for cyclists and pedestrians.
Rather than a straight ribbon of asphalt parallel to the new motorway, the new off-road paths will meander through the natural landscape currently being created alongside the motorway. Many native trees and plants have already been established in the past two years, softening the motorway edges.
As the shared pedestrian/cycle path gently curves through the environment it will connect local people to schools, shops and places of work. When all the new infrastructure is ready for opening this year, the new motorway will become the main northern entrance to Ōtautahi/ Christchurch.