New Zealand State Highway 73

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State Highway 73 NZ.svg

State Highway 73
Route information
Maintained by New Zealand Transport Agency
Length: 231 km (144 mi)
Tourist
routes:
Great Alpine Highway
Christchurch Ring Road
Inland Scenic Route between Sheffield and Waddington.
Major junctions
Northwest end: State Highway 6 State Highway 6 NZ.svg at Kumara Junction, New Zealand
Southeast end: Curletts Road/Christchurch Southern Motorway State Highway 75 NZ.svg/State Highway 76 NZ.svg at Middleton, New Zealand
Location
Primary
destinations:
Kumara, Dillmanstown, Jacksons, Otira, Arthur's Pass, Bealey, Cass, Castle Hill Village, Springfield, Sheffield, Waddington, Darfield, Kirwee, Aylesbury, West Melton, Yaldhurst, Christchurch
Highway system
SH 71 SH 74

State Highway 73 (SH 73) is a major east-west South Island State Highway in New Zealand connecting Christchurch on the east coast with Cass/Hokitika via the Southern Alps. It is mostly two lane, with some single-lane bridges north of Springfield but is mostly dual carriageway in Christchurch. The fourth and fifth-highest points of New Zealand's state highway network are on this road at Porters and Arthur's Pass respectively.

History[edit]

The route connecting the West and East coasts of the South Island via the Southern Alps were known for hundreds of years by the Māori people, due to a flourishing pounamu trade. The Europeans were informed of the route by a local chief in the mid-19th century but was not used during his lifetime. In 1864, Arthur Dudley Dobson traversed from the east to the west coast from the Waimakariri River, thereby discovering Arthur's Pass. A route connecting Christchurch to Hokitika was fully completed in 1866, with the first Cobb & Co coach began operating that same year for the burgeoning gold rush.

SH 73 through Arthur's Pass

Construction of a rail link had started in 1890, and the Midland Line between Canterbury and the West Coast was finally completed on 4 August 1923, with the opening of the Otira Tunnel. This signalled the end of the Cobb & Co coach in New Zealand.[1][2] When the section of the line from Springfield to Broken River in Canterbury was opened in 1906, it was then possible to travel from Canterbury to the West Coast in a single day with a 40 mile (64 km) coach journey between the railheads at Broken River and Otira.

Due to the geography and topography between Springfield and Kumara, the road has been subjected to several closures and road realignments, with both Porters and Arthur's Pass subjected to frequent closures during the winter months. The road between Arthur's Pass and Otira in particular was amongst the most dangerous in the country, due to the road located on scree slopes which frequently gave way. As a result, numerous studies were conducted into alternative options for fixing the road around Candy's Bend, Starvation Point and the Zig Zag. Construction of the Otira Viaduct and the protective roofs from slips began in 1997 and opened in 1999.[3]

Route[edit]

Kumara Junction to Christchurch[edit]

As of May 2010, this is the current route of the highway.

State Highway 73 begins 11 km south of Greymouth at Kumara Junction. The highway passes through undulating farmland, scrubland and forest as it passes through the settlements of Kumara and Dillmanstown. The road veers sharply to the left as it approaches the mountains to the front of the road. The road then hugs the Taramakau River as it proceeds down the valley. At Jacksons, the Midland Line crosses the river and begins to run parallel to the road. Just before Aickens at the confuence of the Taramakau and Otira Rivers, the road and rail line veers to the right and runs to the south before reaching Otira.

The Otira Viaduct

Beyond Otira, the road breaks with the railway line and crosses the river before climbing up towards the Otira Viaduct and Arthur's Pass. At 920 metres, Arthur's Pass is the second highest pass on the road and is one of the three alpine passes connecting the east and west coasts. After peaking, the road descends into Arthur's Pass village with the railway line emerging from the Otira Tunnel nearby.

After the village, the road and rail line runs along the Bealey River valley and crosses the Waimakariri River before veering left and running parallel to both the river and the rail line on the opposite side. Before Cass, the road runs along a bluff and turns right to proceed past some more farmland as well as Lakes Grasmere and Pearson.

Castle Hill Village

The road then climbs up towards Castle Hill Village and runs through a valley before passing beside Lake Lyndon where it curves left before climbing up towards Porters Pass which, at 939 metres, is the highest point on the road. After cresting, the road descends into the Kowai River valley and runs roughly parallel with the river until it reaches Springfield.

The former Springfield doughnut with Mount Torlesse in the background

After Springfield, the road emerges onto the Canterbury Plains and runs straight through the settlements of Annat, Sheffield and Waddington before arriving at Darfield. The road then passes through the settlements of Kirwee, Aylesbury and West Melton as well as dairy and lifestyle farms characteristic of the plains. The road passes by Paparua Prison and arrives in Christchurch via Yaldhurst.[4]

Christchurch[edit]

As Yaldhurst Road, the proceeds in an easterly direction towards Riccarton. The road widens to four lanes at Avonhead, but by Curletts Road/Peer Street, the highway turns right (while Yaldhurst Road becomes Riccarton Road and heads towards the city centre).

As Curletts Road, the road temporarily reverts to two lanes divided by a flush median. After Blenheim Road, however the road widens again, crosses over the Main South Line and eventually terminates at the Christchurch Southern Motorway (SH 76).

Route changes[edit]

Over the past 40 years SH 73 has been subjected to several route changes both in the Christchurch and the Arthur's Pass-Otira areas. In the early years SH 73 originally ended at the Blenheim Road and Hansons Lane corner in Upper Riccarton. In 1999, one of the worst sections of highway in the country (around Candy's Bend) were replaced with the Otira Viaduct. Meanwhile, in Christchurch, since SH 1 was rerouted to bypass the CBD, SH 73 was extended to Brougham Street/Waltham Road intersection, with the rest of the route covered by SH 74. In 2004, with SH 74 being rerouted to run along the Ring Road and the entire length of Tunnel Road instead of through the CBD, SH 73 was extended further to the Port Hills Road interchange on SH 74.

As of December 2012, with the extension of the Christchurch Southern Motorway, the section of SH 73 east of Curletts Road was re-gazetted as SH 76 in line with the new motorway extension.

Major intersections and towns[edit]

Kumara Junction to Christchurch[edit]

State Highway 73 State Highway 73 NZ.svg
Northbound exits Distance to
Greymouth
(km)
Distance to
Lyttelton
(km)
Southbound exits
End Otira Highway State Highway 73 NZ.svg
16.6 240.4 Start Otira Highway State Highway 73 NZ.svg
Hokitika, Greymouth
Kumara Junction Highway Australia R1-3.svg
Taramakau Highway Level Crossing State Highway 6 NZ.svg
Greymouth, Hokitika
Taramakau Highway Level Crossing State Highway 6 NZ.svg
Kumara Junction Highway Australia R1-3.svg
Kumara
Name change to Seddon Street through Kumara
23.5 233.5 Kumara
Name change to Seddon Street through Kumara
Dillmanstown 26.2 230.8 Dillmanstown
Lake Brunner, Moana
Lake Brunner Road High Speed Intersection (State Highway 7 NZ.svg)
61.5 195.5 Lake Brunner, Moana
Lake Brunner RoadHigh Speed Intersection (State Highway 7 NZ.svg)
Jacksons 62.1 194.9 Jacksons
MIDLAND LINE Level Crossing 69.4 187.6 MIDLAND LINELevel Crossing
MIDLAND LINE Level Crossing 72.2 184.8 MIDLAND LINELevel Crossing
Otira 81.5 175.5 Otira
MIDLAND LINE 83.2 173.8 MIDLAND LINE
OTIRA RIVER 83.3 173.7 OTIRA RIVER
OTIRA VIADUCT 87.7 169.3 OTIRA VIADUCT
ENTER WESTLAND DISTRICT
Name change to Otira Highway
90 167 ARTHUR'S PASS
920 m (3,020 ft)
ARTHUR'S PASS
920 m (3,020 ft)
ENTER SELWYN DISTRICT
Name change to West Coast Road
Arthur's Pass 95 162 Arthur's Pass
WAIMAKARIRI RIVER 104 153 WAIMAKARIRI RIVER
Bealey 106 151 Bealey
Mount White RoadHigh Speed Intersection 118 139 Mount White RoadHigh Speed Intersection
Cass 121 136 Cass
Castle Hill Village 145 112 Castle Hill Village
Lake Lyndon, Lake Coleridge
Lyndon RoadHigh Speed Intersection
156 101 Lake Lyndon, Lake Coleridge
Lyndon RoadHigh Speed Intersection
PORTERS PASS
939 m (3,081 ft)
159 98 PORTERS PASS
939 m (3,081 ft)
KOWAI RIVER 164.7 92.3 KOWAI RIVER
KOWAI RIVER 171.2 84.8 KOWAI RIVER
Kowai Bush, Waimakariri Gorge
Pocock RoadHigh Speed Intersection
175.8 80.2 Kowai Bush, Waimakariri Gorge
Pocock RoadHigh Speed Intersection
Springfield 177.5 79.5 Springfield
Russells Flat
Keens Road
Coxs Road
Junction RoadHigh Speed Intersection
180.1 76.9 Russells Flat
Coxs Road
Junction Road
Keens RoadHigh Speed Intersection
Annat 184 73 Annat
Sheffield 187 70 Sheffield
Waddington
189.5 68.5 Oxford, Rangiora
Waimakariri Gorge RoadHigh Speed Intersection
Inland Scenic Route
Oxford, Rangiora
Waimakariri Gorge RoadHigh Speed Intersection
Inland Scenic Route
189.5 68.5 Waddington
Coalgate, Glentunnel
Deans Road High Speed Intersection
Inland Scenic Route
190.5 67.5 Coalgate, Glentunnel
Deans Road High Speed Intersection
Inland Scenic Route
Coalgate, Glentunnel
Bangor Road State Highway 77 NZ.svgHigh Speed Intersection
200 57 Coalgate, Glentunnel
Bangor Road State Highway 77 NZ.svgHigh Speed Intersection
Charing Cross, Dunsandel, Kimberley
Ross Street
McMillan Street High Speed Intersection
200.3 56.7 Kimberley, Charing Cross, Dunsandel
McMillan Street
Ross Street High Speed Intersection
Darfield
Name change to South Terrace through Darfield
200.5 56.5 Darfield
Name change to South Terrace through Darfield
Darfield
Horndon Street High Speed Intersection
202.3 54.7 Darfield
Horndon Street High Speed Intersection
Charing Cross
Ansons Road High Speed Intersection
206.9 50.1 Charing Cross
Ansons Road High Speed Intersection
MIDLAND LINE Level Crossing 207 50 MIDLAND LINELevel Crossing
Courtenay
Ansons Road High Speed Intersection
207.1 49.9 Courtenay
Ansons Road High Speed Intersection
Charing Cross, Courtenay
Courtenay Road High Speed Intersection
209 48 Kirwee
Kirwee Courtenay, Charing Cross
Courtenay Road High Speed Intersection
Hororata, Burnham, Rolleston
Railway Road
Aylesbury Road
Bealey Road
Station Road High Speed Intersection
214.5 42.5 Aylesbury
Aylesbury Rolleston, Burnham, Hororata
Station Road
Railway Road
Aylesbury Road
Bealey Road High Speed Intersection
Rolleston, Kirwee
Hoskyns Road High Speed Intersection
216.6 40.4 Kirwee, Rolleston
Hoskyns Road High Speed Intersection
Burnham, Weedons
Weedons Ross Road
West Melton Road High Speed Intersection
222.7 34.3 West Melton
West Melton Weedons, Burnham
West Melton Road
Weedons Ross Road High Speed Intersection
Springston, McLeans Island
Dawsons Road
Chattertons Road High Speed Intersection
227.6 29.4 McLeans Island, Springston
Chattertons Road
Dawsons Road High Speed Intersection
Broomfield, Sockburn
Buchanans Road High Speed Intersection
231.8 25.2 Broomfield, Sockburn
Buchanans Road High Speed Intersection
Courtenay, Waddington
Old West Coast Road High Speed Intersection
232.5 24.5 Courtenay, Waddington
Old West Coast Road High Speed Intersection
Yaldhurst 234.2 22.8 Yaldhurst
Templeton, McLeans Island
Pound Road High Speed Intersection
McLeans Island, Templeton
Pound Road High Speed Intersection
Timaru, Masham, Russley, Picton
Masham Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg
Russley Road Gfi-set01-airport.png State Highway 1 NZ.svg
Picton, Russley, Masham, Timaru
Russley Road Gfi-set01-airport.png New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg
Masham Road State Highway 1 NZ.svg
Sockburn, Avonhead
Middlepark Road
Avonhead Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg
238.5 18.5 Avonhead, Sockburn
Avonhead Road
Middlepark Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg
Bishopdale, Riccarton
Peer Street
Yaldhurst Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg
239.4 17.6 Bishopdale, Riccarton
Peer Street
Yaldhurst Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg
Name change to Yaldhurst Road
End concurrency with Christchurch Ring Road
Name change to Curletts Road
Start concurrency with Christchurch Ring Road
Hornby, Riccarton
Main South Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg
239.5 17.5 Riccarton, Hornby
Main South Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg
Hornby, Christchurch CBD
Blenheim Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg
240.3 16.7 Christchurch CBD, Hornby
Blenheim Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg
MAIN SOUTH LINE 240.5 16.5 MAIN SOUTH LINE
Wigram
Parkhouse Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg
240.8 16.2 Wigram
Parkhouse Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg
Middleton
Lunns Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg
241.1 15.9 Middleton
Lunns Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg
Rolleston, Prebbleton, Sydenham, Lyttelton
Christchurch Southern Motorway State Highway 76 NZ.svg Australia R1-3.svg
241.6 15.4 Lyttelton, Sydenham, Prebbleton, Rolleston
Christchurch Southern Motorway State Highway 76 NZ.svg Australia R1-3.svg
Start State Highway 73 State Highway 73 NZ.svg
as Curletts Road
from Hoon Hay, Halswell and Akaroa State Highway 75 NZ.svg
End State Highway 73 State Highway 73 NZ.svg
Continues as Curletts Road State Highway 75 NZ.svg
to Hoon Hay, Halswell and Akaroa

Former Spur sections[edit]

State Highway 73a NZ.svg

State Highway 73A
Location: HornbySockburn
Length: 3.6 km (2.2 mi)

State Highway 73A was a spur section of SH 73 connecting the suburbs of Hornby, New Zealand and Sockburn, New Zealand via Main South Road and Blenheim Road. Before 2004 it formed part of the old route of SH 73 and further before that SH 1. It was one of the few state highways in New Zealand to be wholly dual carriageway. In 2014, the entire highway has been revoked due to completion of the Christchurch Southern Motorway (gazetted SH 76 in 2012) which runs almost parallel to this route.

Major intersections[edit]

State Highway 73A State Highway 73a NZ.svg
Westbound intersections Distance to
Hornby
(km)
Distance to
Christchurch CBD
(km)
Eastbound intersections
End State Highway 73a NZ.svg
continues as Main South Road State Highway 1 NZ.svg
0 10 Start State Highway 73a NZ.svg as Main South Road
from State Highway 1 NZ.svg
Springston, Timaru, Hornby, Picton
Shands Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg
Carmen Road Gfi-set01-airport.png State Highway 1 NZ.svg
Picton, Hornby, Timaru, Springston
Carmen Road Gfi-set01-airport.png State Highway 1 NZ.svg
Shands Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg
Prebbleton, Lincoln
Springs Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg
1.7 8.3 Prebbleton, Lincoln
Springs Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg
Wigram, Middleton, Sockburn
Symes Road
Green Lane Japan road sign 201-A.svg
2.1 7.9 Sockburn, Wigram, Middleton
Green Lane
Symes Road Japan road sign 201-A.svg
MAIN SOUTH LINE 2.2 7.8 MAIN SOUTH LINE
Broomfield, Yaldhurst
Lowther Street Japan road sign 201-A.svg
Racecourse Road
2.4 7.6 Broomfield, Yaldhurst
Racecourse Road
Lowther Street Japan road sign 201-A.svg
Upper Riccarton, Sockburn
Alloy Street
Epsom Road
Main South Road Australia R1-3.svg
SOCKBURN ROUNDABOUT
2.6 7.4 Upper Riccarton, Sockburn
Epsom Road
Main South Road
Alloy Street Australia R1-3.svg
SOCKBURN ROUNDABOUT
Name change to Main South Road Name change to Blenheim Road
Upper Riccarton, Halswell
Curletts Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg State Highway 73 NZ.svg
3.8 6.2 Upper Riccarton, Halswell
Curletts Road New Zealand road sign W10-4.svg State Highway 73 NZ.svg
End State Highway 73a NZ.svg
continues as Blenheim Road to Christchurch CBD

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Churchman, Geoffrey B (1991). On the Trans-Alpine Trail: A Travel Guide to State Highway 73 and the Midland Railway. Johnsonville, Wellington: IPL Books. ISBN 0-908876-73-4. 
  1. ^ [1] Arthur's Pass history
  2. ^ http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/canterbury-places/14 Accessed 29 May 2010
  3. ^ http://www.nzine.co.nz/views/arthurspass_otira.html The Road from Arthur's Pass to Otira
  4. ^ http://www.nzine.co.nz/features/arthurs_pass.html From Christchurch to Arthur's Pass By Road

External links[edit]