Pedestrians test-drive Christchurch's multi-million dollar highway

Thousands of Cantabrians have put on their walking shoes to try out the region's newest stretch of highway.

The Western Belfast Bypass is part of Christchurch's multi-million dollar Western Corridor and on Sunday, the locals got to see it first-hand.

"They've been watching the construction, now's an opportunity to see the finished product," principal project manager Geoff Griffiths told Newshub.

Runners, walkers and cyclists of all ages headed to the open day to see the $122 million project that's been two years in the making.

The four-lane, five-kilometre stretch of highway extends Christchurch's Northern Motorway and connects into State Highway 1.

It's one of six sections which make up the multi-million dollar Western Corridor between Belfast and Hornby.

"It's going to be quicker travel, it's going to be much safer, and it takes the traffic off the local roads, making the local roads safer for walking, cycling and frees it up for public transport," Mr Griffiths said.

Two-and-a-half kilometres of road has been opened to the public on Sunday and thousands came along for their only chance to walk and bike on the new bypass.

"We thought we'd come and have a bit of a wander, family day and have a look," one walker told Newshub.

The bypass will open in stages over the next month, with one northbound lane opening on Tuesday.

But for Sunday, the crowds were happy to give the motorway a pedestrian test-drive.