Flashback Friday – First Look: Southern Motorway Cycleway (Pt.1)

As the Southern Motorway extension to Rolleston nears completion (post-lockdown), there will be a little bit of rejoicing too that the cycleway alongside it will also join up to the Little River Trail out towards Prebbleton and Lincoln. Back in March 2013, when this post originally published, we were simply celebrating the fact that there was a (partial) cycle route heading back into town from Hornby. Over time it would form part of the “Little River Link” major cycle route…

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)

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

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)
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)
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)

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 Southern Motorway pathway?

4 thoughts on “Flashback Friday – First Look: Southern Motorway Cycleway (Pt.1)”

  1. Springs Rd roundabout isn’t ‘tricky’. It’s really dangerous at peak times. The motorway extension should have had an underpass to allow riders from the city to safely access the extension to the rail trail that goes to Prebbleton.

    1. Yep, it is getting a traffic-free connection via the existing underpass to Halswell Junction Rd and then under the new HJ Rd overbridge – nearly open!

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