Multi-million dollar transportation project surrounding Christchurch’s stadium hits significant hurdle

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 18, 2024 |

Graphic: Christchurch City Council

A multi-million dollar transportation project surrounding Christchurch’s stadium has encountered a significant hurdle.

The New Zealand Transport Agency has postponed its funding decision, leaving a considerable portion of the project’s budget, specifically 51% or $13 million, in limbo.

In June last year, the Council greenlit enhancements to the infrastructure surrounding Te Kaha, with ambitious plans to transform Lichfield Street West, including the introduction of outdoor dining areas, designated loading zones, parking spaces, traffic mitigation measures, retractable bollards and electronic signage. The overhaul also proposed the expansion of footpaths, reduced speed limits, and aesthetic enhancements.

In recent months, the NZTA demanded additional documentation and further reports from the Council to ensure the project aligns with their funding criteria.

A change of government and the introduction of a draft Government Policy Statement suggested impending changes to transportation funding frameworks.

In a memo sent to councillors and staff, Jenny Rankin, the Senior Transport Project Manager said that the NZTA convened with the council on April 5th for a formal assessment of the funding application.

“They have advised that NZTA have decided to delay their decision on the funding until October 2024. Therefore, if Council was to proceed with the work it would be at risk of not receiving funding.”

She said the project had recently been tendered, and the bids were under review, with an announcement of the successful tender expected in May. Construction was slated to commence in July.

“Due to the requirement to complete the roadworks ahead of the stadium’s opening, it is not possible to delay the award of the tender or start of construction without significant operational and reputational risk.”

The NZTA’s decision to defer funding approval now casts a shadow over the Council’s Long Term Plan.

“In summary, should Council choose to fund the project itself, there is a risk that $13 million of revenue may not become available. Any potential shortfall will need to be addressed as part of the LTP or a future Annual Plan process.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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