Council settles on solution for CNC traffic south of Berwick Street

Commentary: the plan to manage traffic downstream of the Christchurch Northern Corridor (CNC) included nine options to manage the motorway’s additional traffic south of Berwick Street through to Bealey Avenue. The Christchurch City Council requested staff to proceed with scoping the three highest-ranking options as part of the first stage of downstream works. One of those options has now been picked and is included in the current consultation on transport projects in the Cranford Street area.

DEMP stage 1 cover.jpg
Detail from the cover of the Council’s consultation document, July 2019

I’ve been following the progress of the Christchurch Northern Corridor for a number of years, and have been covering the Downstream Effects Management Plan in some detail (see links below). It has been my view that the decision around traffic ‘south of Berwick’ was one of the most significant, but also one that hasn’t been clearly communicated.

Background: past articles on the CNC & the DEMP

What were the options that were considered for traffic south of Berwick Street? Essentially, arterial upgrades to add capacity either to Cranford/Sherborne Streets, or to Madras/Forfar and Barbadoes Streets. The three highest-ranking options were:

  • Increasing capacity on Barbadoes St and Madras/Forfar St using clearways (eg ‘three-laning’ of these streets), or
  • Increasing capacity on Barbadoes St and Madras/Forfar St by extending the one-way system all the way up to Warrington St, or
  • Increasing capacity on Cranford/Sherborne St using clearways.

In the Council’s consultation on transport projects in the Cranford Street area (launched in July 2019 and closing on 19 August 2019), there is no explicit mention of the three options or the process that’s been undertaken since the Council’s June decision for the Stage 1 works to proceed. One option, however, has been included in the document.

South of Berwick proposal in stage 1
Detail from the ‘major road upgrades’ section of the July 2019 consultation document

The ‘major road upgrades’ section on the web page / document shows substantial changes to Cranford/Sherborne Streets south of Berwick St. All on-street parking is proposed to be removed on the western (northbound) wide of the road, and there’s a peak-hour morning clearway on the eastern (southbound) side. This gives a morning configuration (7am-9am) of two lanes for traffic heading south into the city, and one for traffic heading north. For the rest of the day there’ll be one traffic lane in each direction.

So, are the three-laning or one-way upgrades to Madras/Forfar and Barbadoes Streets off the table? I queried this with Council staff. While not ‘off the table’ in the sense of being ruled out for all time, these options are definitely not being considered or planned. This might come as some relief for residents on those streets (and also those along Berwick & Warrington Streets). Council staff did note, however, that inevitably some additional traffic is likely, especially given that proposed intersection upgrades at Warrington/Forfar and Warrington/Barbadoes will make the area a little easier for through traffic.

Question for readers

How will you be impacted by the ‘south of Berwick’ route that Council has selected?

3 thoughts on “Council settles on solution for CNC traffic south of Berwick Street”

  1. So there’s no bus priority at all? Isn’t that going to be quite problematic with everything else going on to give buses priority on this route? I thought the additional lane would be a bus lane or at the very least a HOV (T2 or T3) lane – is that not the case?


    1. That’s correct – there’s no Public Transport or High Occupancy Vehicle etc lane included in the current proposal. What I heard in discussion with Council staff at last night’s drop-in session was that the current focus is to provide as much (many?) traffic lanes as possible, with the usage of these to be a future decision, eg the extra peak-hour lanes on Sherborne & Cranford may initially be for all traffic, but a decision could subsequently be made to restrict their use to PT/HOV etc.

      NB one of the Council resolutions at the 13 June meeting that approved the first stage of DEMP works was “That the Council request that staff investigate and report back to the Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee on the following:
      a. A park and ride facility near QE2 drive.
      b. Pricing mechanisms to manage future traffic demand.
      c. North and south-bound peak-time Public Transport lanes on Cranford and Sherborne Streets.”
      So far as I can tell no such report back has been made yet. I don’t see it on the agenda for this afternoon’s meeting of the ITE Committee.

      You may also be aware that the NZTA has approved a southbound HOV lane along the CNC itself.

      Regards, Simon.


      1. Yea that’s what I was thinking. It does not sound like very joined-up thinking to put a HOV lane along most of the route, but not Cranford St, which is the part where it is most needed.
        That second sentence concerns me. Politically it’s far easier to make it HOV lane from the get-go – it will be nearly impossible to come back later and try and take away a traffic lane that people have got used to. If they go down that route it’s likely it will never be a HOV/Bus lane, at least in the foreseeable future.


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