Traffic lights for main intersection

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Ashburton District mayor Neil Brown (from left), MP for Rangitata Jo Luxton and Te Wera King, head of Te Runanga o Awowhenua Marae, turn the sod to mark the start of site preparation.

Work on a major Ashburton intersection began this week.

The two roundabouts on the intersections of West Street (SH1), East Street and Walnut Avenue will be replaced with traffic lights, the railway level crossing will be upgraded and pedestrian facilities improved.

MP for Rangitata Jo Luxton, Ashburton District mayor Neil Brown and head of Te Runanga o Awowhenua Marae, Te Wera King, were joined by community leaders and the project team at a blessing and sod turning event on Monday, marking the start of site preparation.

The project has been eight years in the making, and is part of government’s $8.7 billion investment in the NZ Upgrade Programme; $45 million of this is for improvements in intersection safety in rural Canterbury with Tinwald, West Melton and Ashburton receiving funding.

Fulton Hogan has been awarded the contract, the first South Island project to reach construction phase.

The upgrade will co-ordinate both sets of traffic signals with railway barriers to make the intersection safer for all users.

MP for Rangitata Jo Luxton said Ashburton school children will directly benefit from the project, which will make these two critical road intersections much safer, and said it was hugely important for the children.

“In funding this project the Government is recognising people need more travel choices, we want to be able to walk and bike safely,” she said.

Mr Brown said council wanted both the east and west intersections done at the same time.

“So it’s a real good outcome doing them all together,” he said.

“I’ve seen the kids crossing here every morning I’m not sure how the kids get across, the old ones must teach the young ones, because it’s been going on for years.”

A 30km/h speed restriction and other traffic management will be in place during the works, people are urged to travel through the site with extra care.

What you need to know

  • There will be mostly two lanes of traffic available on SH1, with Stop/Go used intermittently.
  • Work will be undertaken 7am – 7pm Monday to Friday, with occasional weekend work.
  • The project is expected to take 18 months and be complete in late 2022/early 2023

By Daniel Tobin