The final piece of Christchurch’s architecturally designed ‘gateway arches’ is in place, signalling how close another of the city’s multi-million dollar roading projects is to completion, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.

The arches and a major interchange are being constructed at the intersection of Russley Road and Memorial Avenue, near Christchurch Airport, as part of the $112 million State Highway 1 Russley Road Upgrade.

Mr Bridges says the top piece of the arches was put in place this morning with the help of a 180 tonne crane.

“The top piece (or arch cap) weighs in at 13.5 tonnes and connects the gateway arches, which now stand 27 metres above Memorial Avenue,” Mr Bridges says.

“The structure is set to become a powerful symbol for Christchurch.  It will leave a lasting impression on locals and travellers alike and it is exciting to see it in place.

“What is even more exciting is just how close the Russley Road Upgrade is to completion.

“This milestone will allow the project to complete the remainder of the interchange below the structure. By mid-August traffic will be able to travel under the new interchange and by early 2018 the whole project will be complete – months ahead of schedule.”

Mr Bridges says the Government is investing $3.2 billion into transport in the Canterbury region in the current three year National Land Transport Programme.

“The investment is focused on the November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake recovery, completing the Christchurch earthquake recovery work and continuing the Christchurch Roads of National Significance (RoNS) projects, such as the Russley Road Upgrade,” Mr Bridges says.

“The Christchurch RoNS will open up the Canterbury region and support economic development and growth. As well as making a real difference to the lives of road users by improving safety and travel times.”

More information about the Russley Road Upgrade and other Christchurch RoNS can be found here.

Note to editors

The arches were architecturally designed by Warren and Mahoney The design – finalised after a competition and iwi input - draws on the crossing of paths, the Southern Alps, braided rivers of the Canterbury Plains and the excitement of travel The arches are made up of 30 separate sections There is 400 tonnes of steel in the arches The arches were prefabricated in Napier and transported by road to the Russley Road Upgrade site Arch sections began arriving on site in December 2016 and in January 2017 the project team began locking the first sections into place. The highest point will be 27 metres above Memorial Avenue Two 180 tonne cranes were used to lift the final part into place The gateway arches will be painted white later this year when weather permits

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