The off-road cycleway follows the Main North Line railway and connects northern Christchurch suburbs – currently Fendalton, Strowan, Papanui, and Northcote – to Riccarton and the Central City.
The new section of the cycleway is expected to open mid-2024 and will extend the route through Redwood, says Christchurch City Council’s Head of Transport Lynette Ellis.
“From Monday 21 August, work will start along the railway corridor between Tuckers Road and Sturrocks Road, and between Barnes Road and Main North Road,” Ms Ellis says.
Barnes Reserve sits between these two points, and that part of the cycleway is already finished. Also complete is the northern most section – along Main North Road, from the bridge over Styx River to Northwood Boulevard.
“We’re very excited to get this work underway, as it will link up these completed parts to provide a continuous 7.5km cycling route between the Central City and Belfast,” Ms Ellis says.
“As construction works are in the railway corridor, road traffic impacts will be minimal. When we begin safety upgrade works on the railway crossings at Tuckers Road, Sturrocks Road and Barnes Road in November 2023, some traffic management will be in place, with plenty of notice given.”
The Northern Line shared pathway has been popular with people choosing active modes of transport, such as cycling and walking.
A cycle counter positioned on the Northern Line by Fendalton Road provides a snapshot of its use, recording over 14,000 trips in the month of July and over 210,000 during the last year.
Long-term, the next phase of the project will be to complete the southern end of the Northern Line, which will link it to the South Express cycleway.
“It’s important we provide a network of interconnected cycleways that make it safer and easier for people to get around,” Ms Ellis says. “The Northern Line is already a great example of that, with links to both the Papanui Parallel cycleway and the Uni-Cycle cycleway.”
Construction on the Northern Line cycleway began in the late 1990s, with the main section open from 2010. Supporting the use of active transport is part of the Christchurch Transport Strategic Plan.