Better streets & spaces  |  26 Feb 2019

The road linking Sumner to Lyttelton will reopen on the last Friday in March.

Contractors have spent the past two-and-a-half years working to reinstate Sumner Road, which has been closed to traffic since tonnes of rocks came tumbling down onto it from the surrounding cliffs during the 22 February 2011 earthquake.

Contractors working to complete work on Sumner Road.

Sumner Road is just weeks away from opening.

“Work to reinstate the road is almost complete and it will reopen to traffic from 6pm on Friday, 29 March,’’ says Christchurch City Council Transport Planning and Delivery Manager Lynette Ellis.

“It will be another positive step forward for Christchurch because it will mean there is again a direct road link between the communities of Sumner and Lyttelton. It will also mean that oversized and dangerous goods trucks travelling to or from the Port of Lyttelton will no longer need to use the Lyttelton road tunnel.

“We know that people are very excited about Sumner Road reopening and we would have liked to have had an open day so that people could walk or cycle the length of the rebuilt road and see all the work that has been done before it reopens to traffic.

“Unfortunately when we began looking at how we could stage such an event, it quickly became clear it would cause too many logistical and safety issues,’’ Ms Ellis says.

“Logistically with very limited parking available at the Evans Pass end of Sumner Road it would be difficult to accommodate large groups and to get people back to where they had left their vehicles.’’

”Having thousands of people heading through Sumner to the top of Evans Pass and coming out into Lyttelton’s narrow streets also raises safety concerns.”

While significant work has been done to reduce the rockfall risk along Sumner Road, there is still a possibility that rocks could fall onto the road.

“A truck or vehicle passing by is exposed to that risk for significantly less time than thousands of walkers or cyclists would be. That level of risk wasn’t acceptable to us,’’ Ms Ellis says.

Ms Ellis says if people do want to take a drive along Sumner Road after it has reopened, they should be aware there is no stopping restrictions along the entire length of the road.