Russley Rd Upgrade


Customer: NZ Transport Agency

Location: Christchurch, New Zealand

Contract type:  ECI

Contract Value: NZ$92 million

Construction Period: 3 years


Transport Solutions New Zealand & Pacific Islands

Fast Facts

  • 165 long subway and ramps with 6m long precast units 
  • Memorial Gateway Bridge - 4 lanes, 400T iconic arch structure 
  • 30km of cable & 20km of ducting laid on this 3.5km length of road 
  • Approximately 10,000T of contaminated fill removed to approved landfills 
  • Over $3M returned to NZ Transport Agency through shared value engineering 

This high profile, Road of National Significance (RoNS) project was awarded to McConnell Dowell, in Joint Venture with Downer, under an Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) model.  

Our scope of works included the four-laning of 3.5 km of existing SH1, an upgrade of the Russley Road/Memorial Avenue roundabout to a grade separated junction or flyover, with Russley Road going over Memorial Avenue on a four-lane bridge, and a large signalised intersection below. The project separates oncoming traffic, while selected road intersections have been improved and access at some roads reduced to improve safety and efficiency. 

The centerpiece of the project is the Memorial Ave flyover and arch structure. The flyover, connecting Christchurch to its airport at the Memorial Avenue/Russley Road intersection, features a four-legged arch, curving gracefully 27m above ground level, with its two main beams crossing directly above the carriageway. The flyover is more than functional - it is symbolic of the crossing of paths and the convergence of air and land travel. The arching, fluid form captures the dynamism, excitement and speed of travel on the ground and in the air, and symbolises the Southern Alps and the braided rivers of the Canterbury Plains.  

The Challenge

Comprising 30 sections and weighing 400t, construction of the arch and flyover underneath provided the greatest challenge for planning and traffic control. With an estimated 30,000 vehicles per day using Russley Road and key stakeholders such as the Christchurch International Airport wanting to ensure there were minimal delays for their passengers, the team worked tirelessly to deliver to high standards across safety, quality and stakeholder management. 

The solution

An example of a significant project investment to provide a higher quality service was the creation of an alternative traffic management system for Memorial Roundabout. At 500m long, it was the largest temporary roundabout - or ‘ovalabout’ - in the Southern Hemisphere. It provided a singular traffic management scheme for the road users, clear space for the construction of the fly-over and significantly enhanced safety during construction. 

Stakeholder Management

We developed positive relationships with local businesses and community groups through proactive engagement. We worked closely with key stakeholders such as the Christchurch International Airport to ensure there were minimal delays for their passengers. 

Keys to Success

The quality of the finished structures is truly supreme. The project sets a very high standard in urban transportation features for the future and raises the bar for community engagement. 


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