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Construction reprieve for Christchurch retailers

christchurchThe Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) has provided a reprieve to the construction disruption faced by retailers along The Terraces retail precinct.

With the Easter holiday coming up, business owners need not worry whether or not customers will visit have easy access to their stores.

CCDU director, Baden Ewart, said trams will continue to operate while paving work is completed on the section of track through Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct’s The Terraces.

The Terraces connects the retail precinct’s hospitality area to the river between Hereford and Cashel Streets. The section of road has been closed to pedestrians since January 11 but the tram has been allowed to continue operating through the site. Work now needs to start on paving in between and adjacent to the tracks.

“Until New Regent St is open to trams again, the trams will operate slightly reduced hours, and at set times through The Terraces construction site. This will give the crews an opportunity to get the work done,” Ewart said.

Ewart said once New Regent Street opens The Terraces site will close to let workers finish paving between the tracks.

“The aim is to have all the work finished by the school holidays, but if that doesn’t happen then we’ll reopen the route and complete the work later in May,” he said.

Ewart said they have been working with the tourism company Welcome Aboard over the past three years to ensure its trams and punts could resume service as soon as possible. The punts were able to work inside the CBD’s red zone cordon from August 2012, and a new hand-dug channel as part of the River Precinct works will enable the punts to travel in both directions along the river for the first time.

A new punt stop has been built at the Margaret Mahy Family Playground to create more opportunities for Welcome Aboard customers to explore the city. Welcome Aboard’s managing director, Michael Esposito, said keeping the “trams running is obviously good for us, but it’s also good for the retailers and for the city in general.”

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