First Look: Southern Motorway Cycleway (Pt.1)

Back in December you might recall that the Chch Southern Motorway extension was opened to traffic (in fact we even got to bike on it before the traffic got to use it). As part of the works a new cycling route was also constructed. There was still a little bit of work to do, but I hoped to be able to post an item about the facility soon after…

More than three months later and, despite the project apparently being “delivered ahead of schedule”, we’re still waiting for the last part of the cycleway at the eastern end to be completed! So, rather than wait for the whole thing to be done, I thought I would post about the western end of the route first (Hornby-Curletts Rd) and hope that the eastern end is not too far away…

The western end of the Southern Motorway cycling route (click to enlarge)

The western end of the Southern Motorway cycling route (click to enlarge)

Starting at the western end, Halswell Junction Road used to be a notoriously grotty road to bike on, with bugger-all shoulder to play with on a busy 70km/h route. In some ways, things have now improved, with good no-parking shoulders to ride on and an off-road path on one side. What ruins it is the total lack of on-road facilities at the new Shands Rd signalised intersection and a pretty shoddy ride along the pathway up and down driveways and across ridiculously wide side-roads.

Shands Rd / Halswell Jn Rd: How does a brand new intersection get built in this day and age without cycling facilities?

Shands Rd / Halswell Jn Rd: How does a brand new intersection get built in this day and age without cycling facilities?

Halswell Junction Rd: At least there's a shoulder now (and a path on the other side) (c/ N.Rushton)

Halswell Junction Rd: At least there’s a shoulder now (and a path on the other side) (c/ N.Rushton)

On to Springs Rd roundabout: the enlarged roundabout includes pathways all around the periphery, but they are potentially a tricky way to cross if you have two lanes of rush-hour traffic approaching you.

Crossing Halswell Junctn Rd from the west

Crossing Halswell Junction Rd from the west (c/ N.Rushton)

Looking south along Halswell Junctn Rd - very precise destination signage!

Looking south along Halswell Junction Rd – very precise destination signage! (c/ N.Rushton)

Now we get onto the pathway proper (hint: take the pathway on the town side of Halswell Jn Rd – much friendlier than the other side!). Some notable features of the new pathway include:

    • Really good width – at least 3.5m, and even wider at the western end
    • Good use of destination signage throughout
    • Some generous underpasses along the way
Wide enough for you? (note: this section near the roundabouts provides access for maintenance vehicles)

Wide enough for you? (note: this section near the roundabouts provides access for maintenance vehicles)

This underpass connects back with Halswell Jn Rd on the south side - note the signage too

Looking west – this underpass connects back with Halswell Jn Rd on the south side (note the signage too)

Even the roadies seem to like it for training runs

Even the roadies seem to like it for training runs

At the two road overbridges (Awatea/Dunbars Rds and Aidanfield Dr) side paths connect you to the roadway. There’s also a connection to Carrs Rd (a handy way to access Wigram Skies) and in the future a pedestrian/cycle overbridge will span the motorway here. An underpass provides a (currently undeveloped) link to Aidanfield (near Somerville Cres), however they missed a trick in not providing a direct link into the Broken Run subdivision.

Looking west: a useful underpass to Aidanfield (c/ N.Rushton)

Looking west: a useful underpass to Aidanfield (c/ N.Rushton)

Behind this fence is another pathway in Broken Run!

Behind this fence is another pathway in Broken Run!

Approaching Wigram Rd, the pathway reaches the A&P Showgrounds underpass. Here riders face the choice of either turning left onto Wigram Rd, or right, through the underpass and then along the pathway that leads around Curletts Rd to Lincoln/Halswell Rd.

Wigram Rd end: currently not much, but a path to the right will ultimately continue the route. (C/ N.Rushton)

Wigram Rd end: currently not much, but a path to the right will ultimately continue the route. (c/ N.Rushton)

The alternative: go through the A&P Showgrounds underpass and hang a left (c/ N.Rushton)

The alternative: go through the A&P Showgrounds underpass and hang a left (c/ N.Rushton)

Heading towards Curletts Rd and then Lincoln/Halswell Rds (c/ N.Rushton)

Heading towards Curletts Rd and then Lincoln/Halswell Rds (c/ N.Rushton)

At the moment, that’s as far as the new cycle route goes following the motorway, but there will be some more joining of the dots in the near future – more details in the next instalment! (NB: Part 2 Review now available)

What do you think of the new Motorway pathway?

6 comments

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6 Comments

  • Matthew
    21 March 2013, 1:21 pm

    It looks good, apart from the missing path where it says to follow the shoulder, but how’s the noise from the motorway?

    REPLY
    • Lennyboy@Matthew
      21 March 2013, 1:48 pm

      Generally I didn’t find the noise too bad; that extra 5-10m from the roadway helped minimise the noise impact. It’s even better alongside the raised sections at the eastern end, where the embankment and solid barriers keep the noise down a lot (and probably more once some planting comes through.

      REPLY
  • Malcolm
    22 March 2013, 8:14 pm

    The on-road stuff looks pretty shoddy but the off-road path looks amazing! Hope to ride it one day.

    REPLY
  • Cyclomaniac
    25 March 2013, 6:38 pm

    I have had look at these new paths and some of them actually remind me of cycle paths in Holland. While there might be room for improvements I think it is definitely progress!!! Thanks for posting Lenny.

    REPLY
  • Pamela
    1 April 2013, 1:37 pm

    Rode this with the family a couple of months ago and very impressed with the off-road bit. I now use it for walking in the weekends. Well lit, secure and a pleasure to use. Also love seeing young families out using it for recreational biking!!

    REPLY
  • Graham
    8 May 2013, 1:24 pm

    I checked it out the other day after reading this. Yes the off road section is very good but….. I did not enjoy the Hornby end at all on the footpath and it seems to go nowhere in particular – just to roads with lots of unpleasant heavy traffic. And the Curletts road end is very inconvenient. If you want to go to Lincoln road – that is great. But if you want to go to Riccarton then you are directed on to a busy Wigram road with trucks rolling past before entering a path again along Curletts road. However if you want to carry on towards town then forget it. You would have to go out to Lincoln road, travel down it a bit then into Annex road and back to the under pass to meet with the bike path again – very inconvenient indeed.
    So my take on it is that it is a great start but each end needs follow up to make it useful.

    REPLY

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