The first section of Christchurch's Western Corridor upgrade has been completed - on schedule and on budget.
State Highway 1 to the west of the city has been opened to four lanes of traffic with the speed limit 80km/h.
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee welcomed the completion on Monday, saying motorists will enjoy better travel times on a safer road.
The Western Corridor is one of three in the South Island city's Roads of National Significance programme.
Mr Brownlee said the next stage of the corridor will be ready in February next year, with the third due for completion in the middle of 2014.
The Western Corridor will be a four-laned expressway from north of Belfast through to Hornby on its completion in 2018-19.