A $140 million four-lane motorway officially opened in Christchurch today was a "remarkable achievement" given the city's earthquake damage and disruption, Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said.
Stage one of the Christchurch Southern Motorway is the South Island's first Road of National Significance.
The new 8km of motorway and 2.5 km upgrade of Halswell Junction Rd, which runs between Collins St and Halswell Junction Rd and then along Halswell Junction Rd, was completed within three years - ahead of schedule and on budget.
It will provide a quicker route between the central city, Lyttelton Port and south-west Christchurch, while helping ease traffic congestion in Hornby and Blenheim Rd, and improving access to industrial areas.
"This motorway will not only provide much needed extra capacity to cope with the rapid traffic growth experienced throughout the city, it will also enable the long-term growth of the region's economy by reducing travel times and the costs of moving freight and people," Mr Brownlee said.
Mr Brownlee says the $800m Christchurch Roads of National Significance (RoNS) highway construction programme is the most ambitious ever seen in the South Island.
The Christchurch Southern Motorway Stage 1 is the first to be completed of a package of roading projects that make up the RoNS programme in New Zealand's second largest city.