New Zealand greenlights $6.2bn transport upgrade in Canterbury

The town of Ashburton, 50km southwest of Christchurch (Andrew Cooper/CC BY 3.0)
New Zealand has approved a 10-year plan to upgrade the transport system in the Canterbury Region, which includes the city of Christchurch.

The programme is expected to cost US$6.2bn, of which $2.6bn will come from central government.

Among the projects approved is a second bridge over the Ashburton River and a bypass for the town of Woodend, about 20km north of Christchurch.

Flooding of the River Rangitata in 2019 damaged roads, rails, farms and the electricity supply.

The region wants to increase road capacity because the population of the Greater Christchurch area is expected to grow by 150,000 over the next 30 years, reaching around 640,000.

Some 12.5 million passenger trips were taken on the regional public transport network in 2023 and this year that’s expected to reach 14 million, according to Environment Canterbury.

Meanwhile, the percentage of people using public transport has grown from 18% to 24%.

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