Early finish to Riccarton roadworks 'heaven' for businesses

There is light at the end of the tunnel for residents and businesses putting up with the ongoing...
There is light at the end of the tunnel for residents and businesses putting up with the ongoing Riccarton Rd roadworks. Photo: Newsline/CCC
Businesses and residents putting up with the ongoing roadworks along Riccarton Rd were relieved to hear the work should finish eight months ahead of schedule.

It was originally anticipated work to upgrade the busy stretch of road between Harakeke and Matipo Sts would take until the end of the year.

The $18.4 million project has been a cause of disruption for businesses in the area - with Bangladeshi restaurant Nobanno closing as a result of the ongoing works last year.

Art & Frame owner Karyn Clayton said it would be "heaven" if the work finished earlier than planned.

She said the road works have made it difficult to trade as they are often noisy and a fence in the middle of the road made it hard for people to cross from Westfield Riccarton to the store.

But the fence has now been taken down.

Saulsbury and Co Optometrists owner Julia Saulsbury said logistically it must have been a massive job for Fulton Hogan.

"Fulton Hogan have done an excellent job keeping us informed and trying to minimise disruption as far as access to our business is concerned.

"We have had some problems functioning on a few days due to noise issues.

"However, the roadworks have had no impact on our trading at all," she said.

Cherry Tree Lodge owner Steve Park agreed, saying the news was a good thing as the works had impacted.

The work along Riccarton Rd has involved replacing ageing sewer and water supply pipes, some of which were over 100-years-old and buried about 4m below ground.

The pipework has now been completed and the road has been reconstructed to accommodate bus priority measures along this busy public transport route.

Christchurch City Council has also taken the opportunity to improve the environment for pedestrians by making streetscape improvements, including additional seating and landscaping.

Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board member Helen Broughton said it was great the work had been brought forward but the planned tree-lined medium strip for Riccarton Rd was still a contentious issue.

The initial proposal to have 27 columnar hornbeam trees along the median of Riccarton Rd between Clarence and Matipo Sts was slammed by residents.

In May, the city council decided it would put in ten fewer trees than initially planned.

"I don't feel strongly about it but I would prefer bushes to trees. I think the time has gone where major changes can be made," Mrs Broughton said.

Riccarton Bush Kilmarnock Residents Association chairman Tony Simons said residents have been happy with the progress made with Riccarton Rd over the past several months.

"It is gratifying to see the work will be completed early. That doesn't happen often these days," he said.

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