Depot for future

Work on Christchurch’s new interchange will begin next month as contractors have been appointed

The contractors for Christchurch’s new $53 million Bus Interchange have been announced as Australian company Thiess and Christchurch’s Southbase, with work to begin next month.

The companies took control of the site this week and have been appointed to build the facility on a 14,000sqm block bounded by Sol Square, Tuam, Colombo and Lichfield streets.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says in keeping with the desire to create an accessible, safe, inner-city core, the Bus Interchange will be a welcoming and attractive place for people of all ages and physical abilities.

"The impressive building will define Colombo Street and create a landmark that encourages people to meet," he says.

"Key features include airport-style lounges that will keep passengers completely separate from the bus circulation area, retail outlets, a cafe and dedicated waiting zones.

"It has been developed with a variety of transport modes in mind, with secure bicycle storage facilities, easy access to taxi ranks on Colombo Street and regional bus bays immediately outside on Lichfield Street."

The location of the interchange means almost any point in the new CBD will be no more than a five minute walk.

"And with an inner-city speed limit of 30km an hour, walking or cycling to work after arriving into the city by bus is going to be a much more attractive prospect," says Brownlee.

"We are taking every opportunity to encourage more people to live, work and play in the CBD, and this facility will ensure the transport component of that aim is the very best experience it can be.

"We want to encourage more people to use buses and are doing this by creating services and a facility with future generations in mind."

The Bus Interchange will be the central anchor point of Environment Canterbury’s proposed hubs and spokes model for public transport. 

The model includes five high-frequency core services that run across town every 10 to 15 minutes, all of which pass through the new interchange.

Construction will start on the foundations next month, with the structure becoming visible by October 2014 and the facility operational by winter 2015.

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