The countdown is on for SailGP’s long-awaited New Zealand debut, unfolding on Whakaraupō, Lyttelton Harbour 18-19 March 2023.
With thousands set to watch from the event village at Te Nukutai o Tapoa, Naval Point, and more planning to catch the action from the free city centre live site, organisers are gearing up for a busy weekend on and off the water. During the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix, Christchurch and Lyttelton are going to be busier, so it is advised to plan ahead and expect some normal travel routines to be affected.
SailGP has prepared a traffic management plan (TMP) with input from Christchurch City Council, ChristchurchNZ, Waka Kotahi, local businesses and other stakeholders.The TMP takes into account solutions to manage congestion, parking, safety, emergency access, resident access, and transport options for ticket holders during the event weekend. The aim of the TMP is to facilitate movement for residents and event attendees, and to prevent issues of traffic and congestion on the transport network.
During race weekend, restrictions will be put in place from midday until around 6pm on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 March. There will be restricted access to Lyttelton for motor vehicles during this time, with entry to Lyttelton blocked from Sumner and Governors Bay. Between 12pm and 6pm closures, only emergency vehicles, official event vehicles (buses and branded shuttles), taxis and vehicles with a clearly-displayed pass will be able to access Lyttelton.
Once within Lyttelton, there will also be a checkpoint on Godley Quay which will only allow permitted event vehicles (e.g. staff and suppliers) to the site. Those walking to the event from the Lyttelton township can use a new shared path from Lyttelton, down to Naval Point. Cycle access to Lyttelton will not be affected by the restrictions and at all times traffic will be able to leave Lyttelton via the Tunnel, Governors Bay Road and Evans Pass Road. Emergency vehicles will be able to pass through road closures at all times, as will public buses.
Lyttelton residents and businesses will be able to access their homes and workplaces during the access restriction period via Bridle Path Road on both days using an allocated vehicle access pass. Affected households will be issued one pass via mail this month and are asked to please display the pass clearly in their windscreen when traveling through the access point on Bridle Path Road to ensure marshals can wave them through in a timely manner.
Businesses that require passes for their employees and / or contractors and suppliers will also be able to access additional passes. With parking in Lyttelton extremely limited, no passes will be issued to visiting friends and family. This is to ensure that residents are able to move freely during the restriction periods.
In the central city, there will be some traffic management in place surrounding the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix live site, powered by Enable - a free fanzone at the Green, between Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre and Cathedral Square. Some traffic management will be in place to facilitate a safe pick up and drop off area for official event shuttles, and taxi pick-up and drop-off on Worcester Boulevard.
It’s been a long road to our first-ever home event and we can’t wait to bring this new style of racing to New Zealand and give Cantabrians more of the sport they love. We’ve said throughout how privileged we are to deliver Christchurch’s first major sailing event, and we can’t wait for residents to experience it firsthand in a few weeks’ time
With all systems go, Karl Budge, Head of the New Zealand event, says the stage is set for an unforgettable weekend in Ōtautahi, Christchurch: “It’s been a long road to our first-ever home event and we can’t wait to bring this new style of racing to New Zealand and give Cantabrians more of the sport they love. We’ve said throughout how privileged we are to deliver Christchurch’s first major sailing event, and we can’t wait for residents to experience it firsthand in a few weeks’ time,” Budge said.
“It will be a busy and exciting weekend, and we’d encourage all road users and our ticket holders to plan their journeys well in advance and arrive early when taking the event shuttle service from the city centre to Naval Point,” Budge said.