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Fuel Companies Want To Use Tunnel

Postby MacRiada » Fri May 24, 2013 9:56 pm

Fuel Companies Want To Use Tunnel

The country's roading authority is ruling out the possibility of allowing fuel tankers to use the Lyttelton tunnel on a permanent basis despite concerns over the vulnerability of Christchurch's fuel supply chain.

BP New Zealand and Z Energy say the quakes have highlighted the vulnerability of the supply chain into Christchurch and are pushing to be allowed to transport fuel through the 1.9km Lyttelton road tunnel permanently.

Before the quakes most fuel coming into Christchurch arrived through the Port of Lyttelton and was then either taken by tanker across Evans Pass or piped through Mobil's pipeline, which runs from Lyttelton to Woolston.

But the Mobil pipeline, which was damaged in the quakes and temporarily unusable, can only carry certain grades of fuel and Evans Pass is still closed and requires at least $30 million of work to bring it back to pre-quake standard.

The New Zealand Transport Agency has been allowing the fuel companies to take fuel through the Lyttelton tunnel at night, under strict condit ions, but has signalled that temporary arrangement will end when Evans Pass reopens.

BP's national terminal manager, Warren Bolger, told Christchurch City councillors yesterday that fuel companies would be reluctant to use Evans Pass once it was reopened because it was difficult to navigate and an undesirable route.

"There is no appetite for putting trucks across that sort of road," Bolger said.

Trucks could not use Dyers Pass because it was too steep and Gebbies Pass was also problematic because it had no shoulder and lots of tight bends.

Bolger said the fuel companies' clear preference was to continue to use the Lyttelton road tunnel. If they could get agreement from the authorities to do that, they would be willing to contribute towards the cost of any necessary upgrade work.

Bolger said the option of using the rail tunnel to transport fuel from Lyttelton to the city had also been explored, but it was not favoured by the fuel companies as it would require extra loading and unloading and would result in too much loss.

The NZ Transport Agency last night ruled out, for safety reasons, the possibility of allowing tankers to continue using the tunnel once Evans Pass was reopened.

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Sunstrike to blame in truck, train collision

Postby MacRiada » Tue May 28, 2013 1:34 pm

Sunstrike to blame in truck, train collision

unstrike appears to be to blame for a collision between a train and truck at an Ashburton railway crossing today.

Emergency services were called to the uncontrolled Northpark Rd crossing about 9.10am.

A KiwiRail train had gone through the middle of a Verkerks truck and trailer unit as it was crossing the railway lines, scattering empty crates from the truck and other debris.

Part of the truck was plastered to the front of the train cab and one crate ended up on top of the train.

Both drivers escaped unscathed.

Verkerks operations manager Dave Graham said the eastbound truck driver, a Christchurch man in his 40s, had been blinded by the sun and was unable to see the train.

He had initially stopped, but because there were no lights, alarms or barrier arms, he had decided to travel across.

Graham said the driver was on his regular route to the nearby abattoir and had driven over the crossing at least 100 times.

There were about 1000 empty crates in the truck and trailer, used to store packaged meat.

"At certain times with the sun rising, it is almost impossible to see the train," Graham said.

"As the sun is rising above the horizon, it's just blinding. He'd actually stopped and then carried on through."

While the truck cab appeared largely undamaged, there was "nothing left" of the 12-metre trailer, which remained partly attached to the rest of the truck.

Graham said the crossing was "certainly quite dangerous" and both drivers were "very lucky to walk away from that".

While Verkerks had not complained to KiwiRail as a business, he knew of many locals who had.

Staff were on the scene cleaning up the crates and waiting on insurance assessors, he said.

A Fire Service spokesman said there would be an investigation into how the two collided.

There was a "huge cleanup required", he said.

A KiwiRail spokeswoman said the last collision at the site was in 2002.

She said the crossing was ranked 14 on its upgrade priority list, with an upgrade scheduled for the 2014 financial year.

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Bike trail between Mosgiel-Dunedin close

Postby MacRiada » Wed May 29, 2013 11:33 pm

Bike trail between Mosgiel-Dunedin close

It's time to get your hands dirty.

The leaders of a project aiming to provide a shallow-gradient cycle trail link between Mosgiel and Dunedin expect construction work to begin next month, after a wait of nearly eight years.

Speaking to an audience of 90 at this month's Dunedin Community Cycle Forum at Toitu Otago Settlers' Museum, Dunedin Tunnels Trail Trust (DTTT) trustee Gerard Hyland said he hoped to see a project manager appointed shortly, allowing work on the first stage of the project to begin.

That would involve surface preparation and brick repair for the disused Chain Hills railway tunnel stage of the proposed trail, linking Wingatui and Green Island.

Although the tone at Thursday's forum was optimistic, Hyland said it was possible obstacles to progress could still occur.

''We've been waiting on this since 2005,'' he said. ''We've jumped through endless hoops with seemingly endless reports and assessments and the talking's not done yet.''

Negotiations with safety consultants over the extent of brick repair required and over health and safety concerns for those working in the tunnel had potential to add significantly to anticipated project costs, Hyland said.

''We've got a substantial volunteer workforce ready and waiting to get in there and get their hands dirty, but we just need agreement on exactly what's necessary.''

Estimates of costs for the Chain Hills stage of the project ranged from ''several hundred thousand dollars'' to more than $2 million, Hyland said.

But by using volunteers and taking ''a common sense approach'' to the project, costs could be kept at or below the lower estimates, he believed.

More critical still were potential lost revenues for the city resulting from further delays.

''Figures suggest that if only five perthcent of Otago Central Rail Trail users went on to use our proposed trail as a final section ending in Dunedin, the project would effectively pay for itself in two to three years,'' he said.

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Trains 'in the blood', but end of the line for Ken

Postby MacRiada » Fri May 31, 2013 9:45 pm

Trains 'in the blood', but end of the line for Ken

Outram train driver Ken Sloper is taking the retirement line.
The lifelong rail enthusiast will today make his last trip between Dunedin and Pukerangi as Taieri Gorge Railway's senior driver. Mr Sloper, a ''septuagenarian'', marked 20 years with the company last week and retires today. His ''send-off'' is next Friday.

Mr Sloper loved being a train driver, but it was an occupation he did not wish upon his children because of the sometimes long and unsocial hours.

But something about railways was ''in the blood''. His son Greg was a train driver, as was Greg's son, Sean.''

I never wanted my son to get into it, and he never wanted his son to get into it, but it's just the way it has gone. It's a funny thing,'' Mr Sloper said.

He will miss interaction with colleagues and passengers, but not setting an alarm clock.''

My whole working life has revolved around looking at the clock. I'll just see what retirement throws up.''

Mr Sloper was born in Dunedin and attended King Edward Technical College until 1957, when aged 16 he started work as a cleaner for the New Zealand Railways Department.

He was trained in all aspects of operating locomotives.''

It was about 14 years before I drove a passenger train. Back in those days, there were so many staff, you nearly had to wait for someone to die before you moved up.''

Mr Sloper, one of two remaining Dunedin train drivers qualified to operate steam engines, said the conversion to diesel in the late 1960s ''completely changed everything''.

''I had 12 years on steam. Looking back, they were really good times.

''They all had a personality of their own, those steam locos.''

He never thought he would be fond of the ''filthy'' steam engines, but said it was a shame they had largely been abandoned in New Zealand. Other countries had revived old locomotives.

''Diesel just doesn't have the same attraction. People like to see the moving parts, the smells, the heat and everything that goes with it,'' he said.

''It was about 14 years before I drove a passenger train. Back in those days, there were so many staff, you nearly had to wait for someone to die before you moved up.''

Mr Sloper's departure was a massive loss, Taieri Gorge Railway chief executive Murray Bond said.

''Ken's been here since day one; he's amazing. We call him Gentleman Ken.

''He's such a professional and likeable guy. He sets very high standards and is so good with customers. You can't fill boots like that,'' Mr Bond said.

A replacement will be sought to work with the company's three other drivers, but finding someone with the same level of experience as Mr Sloper would be difficult.

''Ken's spent his whole life driving for railway companies in New Zealand. He knows the absolutely vitally important things about driving for passengers, like smooth starts and stops, and is wonderful with customers riding in the cab.''

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Critic sceptical of 50pc rise in Nelson bus use

Postby MacRiada » Sun Jun 09, 2013 9:42 am

Critic sceptical of 50pc rise in Nelson bus use

Discussion on the NBus went round and round the city council chamber yesterday with the release of a report on its first 12 months of service, which raised more questions than answers for one councillor.

Councillor Ian Barker questioned the report's lack of detail and the arithmetic used to support the recent claim that patronage had increased 50 per cent since the new service was launched in April last year.

The council has supported a public bus service for several years, but earlier last year it increased its input into public transport as a result of extensive research and consultation. The service was upgraded to attract greater use of public transport to help ease traffic congestion. New routes were added to the network last April.

The council has said that 360,196 trips were made on all routes during the improved service's first full year, and that patronage had increased by 50 per cent.

Mr Barker noted monthly figures had varied up or down by several thousand in the year from April 2012 to 2013, and questioned how the council had arrived at its figure.

The increase compared usage in April last year (18,447 trips) and April this year (28,668 trips), because those were the only months so far in which a yearly comparison could be made, Mayor Aldo Miccio said.

Analysis of quarterly figures over 12 months since the new service started shows a 23 per cent increase in patronage from the June quarter last year to the March quarter this year.

The highest use so far was March 2013, when 32,877 trips were made on the NBus service. The lowest was June 2012 when 25,656 trips were made.

The busiest routes were the service via Tahunanui, with usage hovering between 13,000 and 15,000 passengers a month. The service via Bishopdale was showing between 8000 and 11,000 passengers a month, which was considerably higher than for the same routes prior to the introduction of the new service.

Mr Barker said there was a lot of information missing from the report which he would have expected to see, including the overall cost of running the service, such as overheads like signage and publicity, and bus shelters built to support the service.

SBL Group is contracted by the council to provide the service which cost $1.3 million, excluding GST, over the first year. All fare revenue was returned to the council. ... on-bus-use
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bus passengers faced delays after union meeting

Postby MacRiada » Sun Jun 09, 2013 3:37 pm

Long waits for bus passengers

Long delays on Christchurch bus routes are being experienced as drivers stop work for a union meeting.

Environment Canterbury, which runs the city's bus operations, said all bus companies and most services would be affected until 2pm today by the Amalgamated Workers Union meeting.

Up to 500 drivers were out of action. The few buses that were running were heavily used.

One passenger told us every seat was full and seven people were standing in the aisles.

Many passengers waiting at bus stops told The Press they were unaware of the cause of the delays.

Some had waited for more than 45 minutes with no sign of a bus arriving.

Colleen Archer, who travelled to the central city from Hoon Hay, said her regular service had been cancelled and the alternative took another 20 minutes.

About seven passengers who had waited more than 30 minutes at a Linwood Ave stop were upset more had not been done to advertise the skeleton service.

After being told of the delay, one woman decided to walk. Another accepted a ride from a passer-by.

Services across the city would be affected as up to 500 workers attended the meeting between 9am and 2pm.

Bus information service MetroInfo did not know which services and trips would be affected before the meeting began, and passengers were advised to avoid travelling during those times.

Up to 500 drivers were out of action. The few buses that were running were heavily used.

One passenger told us every seat was full and seven people were standing in the aisles.

Many passengers waiting at bus stops told The Press they were unaware of the cause of the delays.

Some had waited for more than 45 minutes with no sign of a bus arriving. ... ng-for-bus ... passengers
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Rail Heritage award for refurbished hut

Postby MacRiada » Sun Jun 09, 2013 3:39 pm

Rail Heritage award for refurbished hut


he Pleasant Point Railway has been recognised for restoration work on a ganger's hut.

The Rail Heritage Trust of New Zealand presented the restoration award earlier this week for a project that took several years to complete.

The hut is now on site at the railway and has an extensive history, although no-one seems to know its age.

The hut was bought in 1968 by Ross McKay for $10 when the Fairlie line closed. He used it for storage until 2003 when he donated it to the Pleasant Point Railway.

Lindsay Fryer restored the structure, and a team led by Ian Darling made the interior look as if a ganger had just left it to go to work, complete with the stove that was in use up until 1968.

Murray King, Rail Heritage Trust of New Zealand chairman, said the hut was a fine reminder of the living and working conditions of its day.

Pleasant Point Railway president Bryan Blanchard said he believed there were now only a few examples left in New Zealand.

There were once thousands of gangers' huts around the country and few of them are left, he said. ... bished-hut
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Fewer passengers but more cash from buses

Postby MacRiada » Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:42 pm

Fewer passengers but more cash from buses

Passengers using Invercargill's Bus Smart service have paid more since the service was introduced in December, despite fewer of them riding the bus.

Invercargill City Council senior traffic management officer Eddie Cook said about 135,000 passengers had used the bus service in the past six months, 50,000 fewer than in the six months before the service was launched.

Passengers using the new scheme had paid $135,000 in fares, $35,000 more than in the preceding six months, he said.

Fares were increased when the service was introduced and free off-peak rides were scrapped in favour of charging passengers $1 per ride between 9am and 2.55pm.

Mr Cook said the cost to the council for each passenger carried on the new service was $1.03, while the previous service cost $1.83 per passenger.

Fares had gone up to cover the cost of inflation, as well costs associated with running the service, such as fuel, he said.

"When [the cost of] petrol goes up, the cost of the service goes up," he said.

Passenger numbers had gone down because the number of buses running had been reduced from 10 to four, he said. While it was early days yet, the long-term goal was to rebuild passenger numbers within the service, he said.

It was hoped more marketing, and the construction of more bus shelters, would help increase numbers.

Work on new bus shelters was expected to start next month.

Positive feedback had been received on the introduction of "smart cards", which allowed passengers to pre-load cards with funds which were deducted when they got on the bus, he said.

"It's been really popular on our school services. Parents no longer have to give their child cash, they can pre-load a smart card."

About 60 per cent of passengers used a smart card instead of cash, he said.

The introduction of a surveillance camera above the door of each bus had also proved useful, with the council referring to footage three times so far, he said.

"I try to ride the buses at least once a week to make sure the audible announcements are flicking over, and to get the general atmosphere," he said.

Mr Cook said there were no plans to increase fares or make changes to the routes. ... from-buses
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Blenheim Bus route change

Postby MacRiada » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:03 pm

Blenheim Bus route change

The Marlborough District Council is to change the route the Blenheim bus service takes on the north side of town, stopping at supermarkets such as Pak'n Save and New World.

The council discussed the changes last week and agreed to them, hoping it would boost numbers using the service.

About three times as many people use the southern, rather than the northern route.

Council assets and services department finance and information support officer David Craig said about 25,000 people a year used the six-day-a week bus service which alternates around two separate circuits within the Blenheim urban area.

The two circuits are known as the North (Springlands/Riversdale) Route and the South (Redwoodtown/Witherlea) Route. In a report to the council, Mr Craig said the routes were originally designed to cater for rest home and care facilities, medical centres, (including Wairau Hospital) and supermarkets. "As such, the bus service is recognised as an important social service."

About 60 per cent of those using the buses are Super Gold card holders, who travel for free. Central government funds 65 per cent of those fares and the rest by the council.

Mr Craig told the Marlborough Express that in the past three months, 6376 people had used the bus service.

Super Gold card holders were closely monitored, because of the financial accountability and it was clear from them that the south route was used about 75 per cent of the time, about three times as much as the north route.

That might be because there was more housing on the south side of town at the moment, or because the route was closer to homes, he said.

There had been requests to extend the route to go to the Westwood development on Middle Renwick Road past Springlands, and the north route changes did that. Other changes would see a stop at the New World supermarket and the Springlands Countdown.

Mr Craig said the exact stops had yet to be decided, but the changes would hopefully boost passenger numbers on the north route.

The proposed changes could be in place by late July, he said. New timetables would need to be published and an advertising campaign launched to raise awareness of the route changes. ... ute-change
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Flood damage halts rail freight

Postby MacRiada » Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:37 pm

Flood damage halts rail freight

South Island rail freight has been disrupted following days of heavy rain and rising rivers in South Canterbury.

The main south trunk line has been closed to both southern and northern bound trains with flooding and structural damage bringing rail freight to a standstill.

Significant damage was caused to the Opihi River rail bridge after flows in the river peaked at 899 cumecs.

One of the bridge's large concrete piers has been pushed sideway causing the rail line to sag. A large volume of debris had built up against the rail bridge, running parallel to SH1, damaging the pier.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) duty flood controller Phil Lees said the river peaked late on Monday, before dropping back to manageable flows of 200 cubic metres.

Meanwhile, repairs are now underway on the bridge, with KiwiRail spokeswoman Sarah Pomeroy suggesting that, provided the weather stays calm, the tracks could be operational again by the end of the week.

As the river levels drop, much of the focus was on ''clearing debris around bridges'', and their goal at this stage was ''to try and get as much of the network back up and running as soon as possible'', she said.

A sentiment which is shared by many users of the network, as the backlog of freight would accumulate quickly, causing headaches for customers if repairs to the bridge take longer than expected.

In terms of alternatives, Temuka Transport's Gary Aitken said at this stage things were at a standstill. ''Nothing's moving at all.''

He believed it was too early to make predictions, however freight teams would reassess their options as updates come through.

If repairs do take any longer than one week many will have no option but to revert to road transport.

One of South Canterbury's newest businesses, Farmers Mill in Washdyke, sends bulk containers of milled biscuit flour to Auckland on the KiwiRail network every day. However, like several other bulk freight users in the region, sending products on trucks rather than trains as far as Christchurch, is looking like a viable alternative in the coming days.

The Met Service has advised ECan that the southerly changes forecast for later this week are unlikely to bring much more heavy rain to the South Canterbury foothills and as such, repairs to the Opihi bridge should not be significantly hindered in coming days. ... il-freight
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New $1m forklift power for Port Timaru

Postby MacRiada » Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:20 pm

New $1m forklift power for Port Timaru

To meet increased work demand, KiwiRail Timaru has just spent about $1 million on a new, shiny yellow heavy duty forklift that can stack containers four high.

It is one of three to be delivered in the South Island this week. KiwiRail's Christchurch and Dunedin depots also received one each and another three have been consigned to the North Island.

Freight manager Tony Oldman said the 48 tonne state-of-the-art Hyster will be used alongside the port's two other forklifts to lift containers on to and off trucks and rail wagons at its Timaru terminal in Hayes St.

The new machine will eventually replace a 1986 model.

"We want to give customers assurance of reliability," Mr Oldman said.

The terminal's workload has doubled in the past 12 months with five new staff employed and 50,000 (container equivalent units) expected to be shifted during the next year.

The 12-metre high mast diesel forklift is graded Tier 4, which is the current highest Euro emission standard

Gough Materials Handling lead mechanic James O'Connor was responsible for reassembling the fork lift soon after its arrival from the Netherlands on Monday.

He had to complete a week's training course first to familiarise himself with the machine, which will be put into operation next week.

Yesterday, Mr O'Connor was completing extras in the cab including a computer for logging information, and a hands-free CB radio.

Mr O'Connor will be in charge of maintaining the forklift, which has a busy work schedule coming up. ... r-for-port
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Re: Media Articles

Postby duddley » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:15 am

Sounds like a bloody good investment and I'm sure it will be great for staff and customer morale.
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CHCH Transport interchange deal done

Postby MacRiada » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:33 pm

Anchor projects bill totals $4.8 billion

Christchurch will have $4.8 billion invested in its rebuild - $2.9b from the Crown and $1.9b from the city council.

The Crown and the Christchurch City Council said they had reached an agreement today on the cost-sharing arrangement for anchor projects in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan and the repair and replacement of the city's essential horizontal infrastructure.

Parker confirmed that the council would oversee the development of a new performing arts precinct adjacent to the Isaac Theatre Royal.

It was also responsible for building a flagship Central Library fronting Cathedral Square that the council would pay $60 million towards, and would share responsibility for enhancement of the Square and a new central-city transport plan, costing the council $5m and $27m respectively.

Parker said the council could afford the investment.


Repair to horizontal infrastructure:
The council has committed $1.1b to the costs of repairing and rebuilding Christchurch's earthquake-damaged roads and underground pipes. The Crown's share of $1.8b is based on agreed subsidies of 83 per cent for roading and 60 per cent for sewer, water and stormwater.

Anchor projects: The council's contribution for the Anchor projects - the frame, the convention centre precinct, the stadium, car parking, the metro sports facility, the town hall-performing arts precinct, the earthquake memorial, Central Library, Avon River Park, Cathedral Square, the transport interchange and transport plan - is $782.9m, including escalations. The Crown will pay $1.1b.

Convention centre: The Crown will lead the convention centre rebuild. It is hoping to secure private sector investment but has allocated $284m to the precinct. There is no council funding towards this in the form of capital or operating costs.

The frame: The Crown is funding this project at a cost of $481m and when completed will transfer the public areas back to the council.

The stadium: The proposal is for a 35,000-seat covered stadium for sport and entertainment events over three city blocks between Hereford and Tuam streets, bounded by Madras and Barbadoes streets. This agreement caps the council contribution at $253m - the amount the council allowed for rebuilding the original AMI Stadium at Lancaster Park. The Crown will contribute $37m.

Metro sports facility:
The Crown will lead this project, but the council will have final approval of the design and scope for the project. The council is contributing $147m of the total cost of the facility, which includes a competition pool, an indoor sports stadium and a movement centre. The Crown will pay $70m.

Transport interchange: The project includes a new central-city bus interchange, two central-city super-stops in Manchester St and at Christchurch Hospital, the Riccarton and Northlands malls suburban interchanges and Riccarton Rd bus priority measures. The Crown is seeking private sector investment to build and operate the transport interchange, but if this is not successful, the fallback position is that the council will own and operate the interchange.
The council will pay $40m and the Crown $51m.

Avon River precinct: The Crown is leading this project, with the council's contribution being $6.4m. The Crown's contribution is $89m.

Cathedral Square: The Crown and the council will work together on a joint project to enhance Cathedral Square, with the council contributing $4.6m, an amount the Crown will equal.

Performing Arts precinct: Given its determination to save one of the city's landmarks, the Town Hall, the council will consider several options before August 31. These include saving all or part of the Town Hall and developing a cultural arts precinct adjacent to the Theatre Royal. The council has budgeted $158m, including the Town Hall rebuild, for this project. The Crown will pay $8m.

Central Library: The council will lead this project to build a flagship Central Library fronting Cathedral Square. The council has budgeted $60m for this project, with a further $29m from the Crown and philanthropic sources.

Car parking: The council will work with the Christchurch Central Development Unit and the private sector on central-city parking. At this stage there is a need for three central-city parking buildings. The council has budgeted $70m, which will be funded by repair funds and insurance proceeds from the Manchester, Lichfield, Crossing, Farmers and Crown Plaza car parks. The Crown will not contribute.

Earthquake memorial: The Ministry of Culture and Heritage is leading this project on behalf of the Crown, which is also funding the memorial. The council may be required to maintain the memorial.

Transport plan: The council is providing $27m towards changes to the layout of the central-city transport network and the Crown will pay $44m.
The funding will cover:
- Enhancing roads by the Avon River precinct (portions of Cambridge Tce, Durham St, Colombo St and Armagh St).
- Enhancing Manchester Blvd/S from the transport interchange to Kilmore St.
- Health precinct, Avon River, Oxford Tce/Tuam St swap. Enhancement of surrounding areas (portions of St Asaph, Antigua, Montreal, Hagley and Selwyn streets).
- Two-way transformation of Kilmore St.
- Fitzgerald Ave-Kilmore St intersection/bridge enhancement.
- Fitzgerald Ave-Moorhouse Ave intersection enhancement.
- Lincoln Rd-Moorhouse Ave intersection enhancement. ... -8-billion
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CCC: Temporary bus shelters for Northlands Mall

Postby MacRiada » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:40 pm

CCC: Temporary bus shelters for Northlands Mall

Temporary shelters are being put in place outside Northlands Shopping Centre to keep bus users dry while construction of the new super stop is completed.

Flooding issues around the city last week meant contractors working on the new public transport super stop at Northlands had to be diverted to focus on urgent response efforts. Much of the work underway on the new super stop involved sucker trucks and water clearing equipment for underground construction and this equipment was clearly required in flooded areas around Christchurch.

Transport and Greenspace Unit Manager John Mackie says emergency response issues needed to take priority for the Council.

"We understand Environment Canterbury needs the expanded bus shelter to support its new "hubs and spokes" public transport model and construction is progressing, including road marking and signage.

"The project experienced some early delays and ongoing issues with the supplier pushed the deadline. We've put these temporary shelters in place to keep bus users protected from the weather while the work is finished. The super stop - essentially a 70 metre-long bus shelter - is expected to be in place by mid-July, as discussed with Environment Canterbury."
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Bridge repair a tricky, cold job

Postby MacRiada » Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:17 pm

Bridge repair a tricky, cold job

An unhelpful river, bleak weather and freezing overnight temperatures were just some of the elements those repairing the flood-damaged Opihi rail bridge have had to contend with.

But the freight must get through, and the first train in 10 days crossed the bridge yesterday. Around the same time, crews which had worked around the clock to carry out the temporary repairs were heading home to a warm house and some sleep.

The flooded Opihi River damaged a pier on the rail bridge on Monday last week, closing the line and swinging into action a 24-hours-a-day repair operation. It was the worst flood damage to the bridge since 2000.

Initially it had been planned to carry out the repairs from the north side of the river, but the river refused to co-operate. It failed to drop enough to be diverted away from the repair site. Instead, an 800-metre track solid enough to take heavy machinery had to be formed across paddocks on the south side of the river, a KiwiRail spokesman said.

Even when the river did drop from its 890cumecs peak, the flooding wasn't over. Two days after the original storm, the river rose again, this time to around 400 cumecs. And the advice from Environment Canterbury was that that could recur, thanks to snow falling and melting inland. All of which made sinking 12m foundations for the temporary pier no easy matter.

"For the first three days it was just bitter cold southerlies," the spokesman said. Then it did fine up, only for temperatures to fall well below freezing at night. The sort of cold that eight layers of clothing did not keep out.

By mid-afternoon yesterday, the crews were starting to dismantle their worksite. And as they did a train travelled over the bridge. The line was officially reopened. ... y-cold-job
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Now the numbers are in, things get interesting

Postby MacRiada » Fri Jun 28, 2013 6:13 pm

RIC STEVENS: Now the numbers are in, things get interesting

Most of the $4.8 billion allocated for key projects in the Christchurch rebuild will be spent on things you won't see or pay much attention to when they are fixed: sewers, drains, water pipes and roads.

It's above ground where things get interesting under the funding plans agreed between the Christchurch City Council and the Government.

The standout is the Convention Centre precinct. The city won't pay a thing for it. It will cost $284 million, all of which is the responsibility of the Crown.

But the word "precinct" is important here. It will stretch all the way from the Square, across Gloucester St and through the next block to Victoria Square, occupying the space where the central library and Farmers used to be.

The Government may be taking the lead, but that space will also include a great deal of commercial activity in the way of shops and probably hotels. The Government won't want to own those, so that means private investors will be stumping up much of the money. Watch this space.

Likewise, the Government will pay $481m for the eastern green frame, but expect it to offset the cost there, too, by facilitating residential and commercial activity within that space.

For the council, the big challenge is the Christchurch Stadium, earmarked under the central city blueprint for blocks between Hereford and Tuam streets, Madras and Barbadoes streets.

The Government contributes $37m, which will be mainly for the land. The council has agreed to stump up $253m - the amount it allowed for rebuilding the original AMI Stadium at Lancaster Park.

How it can build a 35,000-seat stadium for that price, how long it will take to do so, and even what it might look like, remain to be seen. It won't be an easy project.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has not made it a secret that he doesn't like the old Christchurch Town Hall.

Yesterday's announcement put the Town Hall question wholly back to the city council, which wants to try to save it.

The Government is willing to pay $8m towards the performing arts precinct around the Isaac Theatre Royal site but the council's contribution for performing arts is ticketed at $158m, specifically "including [a] Town Hall rebuild".

In other words, the Government is saying to the council: fix the Town Hall if you want, but don't expect us to pay.

The council is paying $60m of the $89m price tag on a new central library, with $19m from the Crown and $10m expected from "philanthropic sources".

At the new bus exchange, the Government has set the council a considerable challenge. The deal is to build it with $40m from the council and $51m through the Crown, although the Government expects that money to come ultimately from private investors - essentially forcing the council into a private-public partnership. ... nteresting
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Nelson: Bid beefs up proposal for Victory road

Postby MacRiada » Fri Jun 28, 2013 6:16 pm

Nelson: Bid beefs up proposal for Victory road

Nelson's mayor and MP have announced a bid to make the proposed southern link a Road of National Significance, in an attempt to address the pace of the city's growth to avoid it becoming "the constipated city".

MP Nick Smith and Mayor Aldo Miccio have jointly written to Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee to petition him to add the southern link to the Government's Roads of National Significance.

The move was announced at the Nelson Regional Economic Development Agency's Economic Summit 2013 at the Rutherford Hotel yesterday.

If the status was granted, the road would be given an increased priority for funding and consenting. There are now seven Roads of National Significance in Northland, Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch.

Dr Smith told those at the summit that over the last decade Nelson had been growing at a pace in similar percentage terms as areas such as Auckland.

"If we're not going to keep up, if we're not going to become - rather than the Sunshine City - the constipated city, we have to invest in the infrastructure to support the growing population and that growing link to the port."

The Roads of National Significance programme identified key roads around the country that were so important that they needed to be included in the national infrastructure plan.

Dr Smith said Nelson lacked a rail link and needed an efficient roading system, and therefore the southern link was as important to the region as any of the other roads of significance were to their respective regions.

He wanted the project included in the priority list over the next decade.

A cycleway and walkway around Rocks Rd would always be substandard when there were so many thousands of heavy vehicles driving past, Dr Smith said.

He was not expecting an instant response from the transport minister, and this was the start of a dialogue, he said.

"We're basically wanting to put our hand up."

The next step was for him and the council to sit down with Mr Brownlee to discuss how to proceed. Mr Brownlee was aware of the project, he said.

Road resources were competitive nationally, and the Christchurch earthquake had added pressure.

Mr Miccio said the city council's Arterial Traffic Study had shown there would be no problem with (traffic) congestion for at least 25 years, but they had to plan for the future.

Steps were progressing to protect the route in Nelson where a future southern link road might go.

Nelson councillors agreed by a small margin in August 2011 to support a southern arterial corridor through the Victory area as the city's sole option for managing future transport challenges.

A proposal is with consultants to provide a "Southern Corridor Management Plan" that would decide planning and management measures needed to protect the southern arterial corridor so that it remains a long-term transport option.

Waterfront Association chairman Jeremy Matthews said he was delighted with yesterday's news of the bid, saying it was great to see people gathering together and focusing on the solution rather than the problem.

The road was vital, skeletal infrastructure for the Nelson region, he said.

"We don't have rail, we don't have any other option. We're like a spider web and we have got one strand."

If done well, the link would give the Victory community an opportunity to craft itself in a way that worked, he said.

Peter Olorenshaw, who convenes the lobby group Nelsust which is opposed to the building of new roads, said the southern link was a road of "total insignificance".

He said the only issue was trucks in Rocks Rd, and the lobby group had its plan to barge the logs, which had not been accepted.

"I think there are other options rather than bulldozing a route through Victory."

Dr Smith had "baggage" around the plan, and was being pushed by constituents who thought the road would be a miracle solution, Mr Olorenshaw said.

He also pointed to the 2004 Environment Court ruling stating the road was the wrong place for a state highway.

"To have this come out, it's a bit of a shock really."

He doubted the idea would be successful.


Roads of National Significance are highways linked to New Zealand's economic prosperity.

The NZ Transport Agency is charged with delivering the projects within 10 years.

The seven approved Roads of National Significance are: Puhoi to Wellsford, the completion of the Western Ring Route in Auckland, the Victoria Park Tunnel, the Waikato Expressway, the Tauranga Eastern Link, the Wellington Northern Corridor and the Christchurch Motorways. ... ctory-road
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Will Christchurch public transport ever reach this level?

Postby MacRiada » Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:09 pm

David Welch: Will Christchurch public transport ever reach this level?


This is one of the new door level stops (mini-stations) on the new Bus Rapid Transit line in Minnesota.

If people are even one tiny bit serious about creating effective public transport; serious about attracting people out of cars and creating more pleasant liveable and likeable streets and communities; if people serious about reducing the fossil fuel use causing massive rapid climate change with devastating effects (even now in the rich countries!); this where public transport must go. On all major bus urban and provincial bus routes - quality public transport!

Sure, light rail has its tiny place in this world, it is a system that will need to be introduced, AFTER a city has multiple effective bus rapid transit corridors and one or two of them warrant upgrading to light rail . This is usually when traffic on a single corridor exceeds 7000 passengers an hour in peak hours. Not likely in New Zealand routes at this stage. In the meantime let's build a fast efficient effective bus NETWORK - not separate lines but an effective INTEGRATED NETWORK that allows bus passengers to travel in every possible direction with ease, simple systematic and reliable transfers, and fast journey times, even during peak rush hours.

We have all the technology in the world already to put bus systems on equal footing with private car use, but our bus systems are run by politicians and administrators who are only pretending they are committed to public transport. In Christchurch, for all the hard work that is put by Metro planners, with out adequate financial or political backing, without a City Council backing public transport (except for a few "big note projects") Christchurch still operates what is essentially a bus service based on concepts of fifty years ago, no segregated busway corridors, no separate underpasses or "cut throughs", minimal bus lanes (and these only operate part time; part way and often not through the actual key choke point areas!); next to no specially activated traffic signals or 7 day a week stents; irregular patterns that are not based on transfer needs.

My guess is that it will take at least another ten years -perhaps 20! - before we see specialised bus "free run" corridors and proper dedicated bus laning, including absolutely segregated bus bays at major stops that will allow this sort of door level loading.

We are talking about a total land use area of perhaps 0.05% of total city land area to create an effective 21st century bus service but that is far beyond the vision or courage of any car driving politician!

The idea that Christchurch is some sort of "green" city or advanced leader in public transport and active modes (transit and active) is farcial, it is far behind where it should be in transit development and has significantly failed to use public transport to assist post earthquake recovery. ... -ever.html
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Move over Jesus - Unfulfilled promises become a "Miracle"

Postby MacRiada » Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:13 pm

David Welch: Move over Jesus - Unfulfilled promises become a "Miracle"

The continuing farce of ineffective city Governance on transit and active mode transport reaches ever more heights of absurdity.

Councillor Yani Johanson moved to speed up a planned cycleway programme, from a five year programme to a three year programme, so that new lanes and cycleways can be created as part of the post earthquake roading rebuilt.

The intended cycleway network is to be funded from a $20 uniform annual general charge (same for every property) on all rateable properties, though it is unclear how this could achieve $70 million in five years ($14 million per year) - A recent letter to The Press pointed out that the total number of rateable properties in Christchurch is only 100,000, enough to generate only about $2 million per year!

However we have long been used to fantasy being a substitute for hard miles research and active implementation on Christchurch transit and active mode transport! This includes the Mayor's misguided ten year plus fantasy on building light rail, a system only ever employed in cities of high density linear population corridors and/or large daily inbound rail commuter customer base and/and great regional and national wealth. None of which apply in Christchurch!!

Another fantasy is that the city's politicians back public transport to a significant degree.

Before the earthquake the city buses carried over 60,000 trips on a working day, a minimum of 25,000 passengers a day. Many of these of course are high school students, University Students, and some beneficiaries and handicapped people for one reason or another who can't drive. Not prime voter material obviously and not worth spending too much money on.

As for getting people out of cars - forget that bullshit!

The horrific multi-billion damage effects of too rapid climate change, worldwide, predicted as far back as 1970 don't even enter the thinking of the these thoughtless (or hypocritical) carbodies. This massive increase in the number of killer floods, tornadoes, droughts, and forest fires is clearly and easily traced back to huge amounts of heavy carbon and accelerating levels of carbon dioxide in the earth's relative small atmospheric mantle, generated by cars and oil fired power stations. Is this news? I would hardly think so.

But it certainly does not motivate Council to actively fight for moving our outdated bus system into the 21st century. Indeed the Chairwoman of the Environment and infrastructure committee put it fairly succinctly last year .....

In a submission to ECan they have suggested that it trial one of the routes before money is spent on building expensive bus shelters and interchanges across the city. "We want to be supportive but we don't want to do it at great cost to our ratepayers," said [Councillor] Claudia Reid, the chairwoman of the environment and infrastructure committee.
- "Public transport overhaul plan raises cost fears" LOIS CAIRNS The Press August 3 2012

However yesterday same councillor has surpassed herself, with religious exaltation now!!

But Cr Claudia Reid opposed the fast tracking. "We've already delivered a miracle and that the miracle is this: in five years time we will have 13 dedicated, safe, top-quality cycle routes that will connect neighbourhoods and the city centre in a way they have never been before."


Councillor Reid is describing a proposed plan, a long term budget allocation in theory, to be a "Miracle" - not a shovel of dirt turned, not a single guarantee it will not be postponed, altered, reduced, budget cut, or discovered it can not be done, for multiple reasons, or lost in a political shift in Council.

Most of all not a single guarantee that the much talk up cycle lane think-big project will not follow exactly the same dreary, pathetic dismal city performance on bus lanes - promise default, talking up, promise, default, promise, talking up, default etc across an unbelievable 13 year saga.

Deja Vue? Get ready for the real recycling programme?

If the Council is committed is so committed to avoiding spending money on public transport in its environment portfolio, for the 30-40,000 bus users a week - I can't image active mode will fare much better.

To make a miracle out of a mere promise, or a policy or budget allocation on paper open to alteration ("already delivered" Yeah right), is indeed itself a miracle.

Yeah, yeah, that sounds right, that's about the level we are working at. Making miracles out of nothing. ... comes.html
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Re: Media Articles

Postby john-ston » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:11 pm

Ironically, I understand that the proposed road in Nelson would follow the old route of the Nelson Section. Indeed, State Highway 6 as far as Richmond mostly follows the old Nelson Section route.
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