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Advice for Wellington motorists this Anzac weekend

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The NZ Transport Agency is urging motorists to plan ahead for travel to and from Anzac events this weekend. However, it is also reminding holidaymakers to be aware of hotspots on the highways north of Wellington – especially north of Ōtaki on Monday.

Motorists are asked to think through their travel plans well in advance, and leave plenty of time up their sleeves for their journeys.

The main transport disruptions and traffic congestion will be around and through Wellington’s CBD on Friday lunchtime with roads closed for the Anzac Parade, and on Saturday morning as people arrive in town for the Dawn Service. Mr Owen is warning motorists – particularly those with a flight to catch - to be aware of CBD road closures for the Anzac Parade on Friday, including Vivian St (SH1) which is due to close from 1pm to 2pm.

However, the Transport Agency is also reminding holidaymakers that heavy traffic is expected north of the city as people head away this long weekend.

“We’re expecting traffic to be heavy on Friday from lunchtime onwards as people head away for the long weekend.”

“However, the biggest queues usually eventuate on Monday afternoon and early evening, as traffic builds on State Highway 1 north of the Ōtaki Roundabout.

“If you’re driving south through Ōtaki on Monday, you’re likely to hit heavy traffic from mid-afternoon onwards.  We advise motorists to expect heavy delays, and to perhaps stop in Foxton or Levin for a break beforehand. Alternatively, you could hit the highway before lunchtime and dodge the delays.”

Mr Owen says the Peka Peka to Ōtaki section of the Kāpiti Expressway will provide a permanent solution to this ongoing source of frustration for motorists.

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel – construction of the northern section of the Kāpiti Expressway, which includes a bypass of Ōtaki, is expected to begin next year and the problem will become a thing of the past when the project is completed.”

Mr Owen says traffic measures will be in place to assist traffic flow in Ōtaki (further info below), but delays remain likely when the afternoon influx hits.

Mr Owen reminds motorists that 70km/h speed limits are in place on the motorway south of Ngauranga, and on SH1 past Poplar Avenue.

Passing lane closures and Ōtaki traffic measures

During peak travel times, the Transport Agency will be closing the SH1 northbound passing lanes north of Te Horo, as well as the southbound passing lane, north of Ōtaki.

The closure of the northbound passing lanes will take effect from about 12pm – 8pm on Friday and from about 10am – 2pm on Anzac Day. They will be reopened when traffic eases.

On Monday, the Transport Agency will close the SH1 southbound passing lane, north of Ōtaki, from 10am and will reopen at 8pm, depending on traffic volumes. If traffic remains heavy, passing lanes will remain closed longer until we are satisfied traffic flows have reduced.

Mr Owen says the closure of the passing lanes, which is supported by the Police, is done to improve safety and traffic flows during the holiday peaks.

"Passing lanes work well when the traffic is free flowing, but when traffic is backed up, they get exploited by queue jumpers.  When the queue jumpers try to merge back into the queue, it disrupts traffic flow, and can cause nose to tail crashes.”

"Closing passing lanes during holiday peaks actually means more vehicles get through and it’s safer for everyone.”

“The lanes will be appropriately signposted and fenced off with traffic cones, and we’re reminding people to obey the normal road rules by keeping left. If traffic remains heavy, passing lanes will remain closed longer until we are satisfied traffic flows have reduced.”

Mr Owen says the Transport Agency will be providing temporary traffic management measures, within the Ōtaki Township to improve traffic flow.  He says the Transport Agency will be monitoring the situation onsite and managing traffic measures dynamically depending on traffic flow.

Anzac Day closures and changes to public transport

Anzac Day services on Saturday 25 April and the commemoration parade on Friday will disrupt travel around and through Wellington’s CBD this Friday and Saturday. We are expecting big crowds and therefore people going to these events are asked to plan ahead, allow extra time for travel and get there early to avoid disappointment.

If you’re leaving town for the long weekend you also need to plan ahead to avoid getting stuck in traffic, due to road closures, particularly on Friday 24 April.

The Wellington Anzac Street parade on Friday will mean a series of transport disruptions, including traffic delays, road closures, removal of parking and changes to public transport.

The parade route along Lambton Quay, Willis Street, Wakefield Street and Taranaki Street will close these roads plus State Highway One (see table below) between 11am and 3pm.

If you are planning to attend the parade, travel through the CBD, or leave town for the long weekend between 10am and 4.30pm, please plan your travel in advance, check the road closure information and allow extra time for travel.

Vivian St (SH1 southbound)

1:00-2:00pm

Subject to staged road closures, as the parade travels across town.

Taranaki Street

11:00am- 11:30am

Closed to all traffic except buses.

11:45am-3:00pm

Closed to all traffic.

Lambton Quay

11:30am-2:30pm

Closed to all traffic.

Willis Street (between Lambton Quay & Wakefield Street

11:45am-3:00pm

Closed to all traffic.

Victoria Street (between Harris and Dixon Streets)

11:45am-3:00pm

Closed to all traffic.

Manners Street

11:30am-2:30pm

Closed to all traffic.

Bowen Street 

12:15pm-1:00pm

Intersection with Lambton Quay closed to all traffic.

Whitmore Street

12:15pm-1:00pm

Intersection with Lambton Quay closed to northbound traffic ONLY.

Lambton Quay intersection at Whitmore & Bowen Streets 

12:15pm-1:00pm

Intersection closed to all traffic, except northbound to Whitmore Street.

People going away for the long weekend, and who plan on travelling through the CBD should think about leaving town before the parade times or they may find themselves stuck in traffic.

Aotea Quay will remain open and will be the best route across the city if you are leaving town or are travelling to the airport, hospital or port. Please leave extra time for travel.

Buses will be working on a reduced timetable between 10am and 4.30pm and some bus services will be rerouted.   

Anzac Day Events

Large crowds are expected to attend the commemoration services and events being held at the new Pukeahu National War Memorial Park on Anzac Day.

If you are planning on attending the dawn service or any of events at the park you will need to plan ahead and aim to get there early, especially if you want a good view of the ceremony.

Arras Tunnel will be closed from midnight to 2pm on Saturday 25 April.

There will be a limited amount of street parking surrounding Pukeahu National War Memorial. All Wellington City Council, Wilson, Carepark and Tournament car parking facilities will be open.

If you are planning to drive please allow extra time to walk from your car, and expect delays due to road closures.

Extra public transport services are being put on for the Dawn Service including trains to Wellington Station and shuttle buses to Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. The shuttle buses stop at Cambridge Terrace so allow 15 minutes to walk to the park or allow at least 45 minutes to walk from the railway station and Thorndon area to the park.

If you’re leaving town on Saturday morning or travelling to the airport or hospital then think ahead – know where the road closures are, use Aotea Quay to get across town and allow extra time to travel.

The NZ Transport Agency would also like to recognise the superb efforts of the Memorial Park Alliance in completing the Arras Tunnel and the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

For travel information visit @NZTAWgtn on Twitter or visit www.tfw.govt.nz(external link)
For further information on Anzac Week events and transport disruptions please visit  wellington.govt.nz/ww100
call the Anzac Week hotline 0800 001 726 or Wellington City Council on 04 499 4444.

Staying safe – avoid getting trampled in the rush

Mr Owen says that it’s important to remember that we all play a part in making our roads safer for everyone using them and urges motorists to share the driving if possible, avoid alcohol before driving, get plenty of rest before a big trip and stop for regular breaks. When returning to Wellington, Levin is a good spot to stop for a rest before joining the heavy traffic north of Ōtaki.

“We all make mistakes sometimes, but mistakes on the road can have serious or even deadly consequences. Staying alert, keeping your speeds down, being courteous and driving to the conditions are all key elements of a safe journey for you and your passengers this Easter.”

Here are the Transport Agency's top tips for driving safely during the long weekend.

Plan ahead.  Get your vehicle checked before you head out, plan to avoid peak traffic where you can and give yourself enough time to take plenty of rest or sightseeing breaks along the way.  It's your holiday after all, so why not make the journey an enjoyable part of it?

Drive to the conditions.  This isn't just about weather conditions — it's about the road you're on, the traffic, your vehicle and load, your speed, and even you as a driver (for example being tired or on medication that might affect your driving). 

Watch out for fatigue.  Long trips are tiring and fatigue can be deadly behind the wheel.  Driver fatigue was a factor in 33 road deaths and 109 serious injuries in 2013. Get a good night's sleep beforehand, and plan in advance where you'll take breaks along the way.

Keep your cool.  Holiday driving can be frustrating with busy roads, stifling heat and restless kids in the car. So please, be courteous and patient while on the roads.  Don't get provoked by other drivers’ aggressive behaviour; and wait to overtake until you get to a passing lane or can see enough clear road ahead of you to do it safely.  Be sure to take enough games, books and DVDs to keep the kids occupied along the way.

Buckle up.  Don't let your family holiday be marred by tragedy simply because someone didn’t buckle up. If you're the driver you are legally responsible for making sure all passengers under the age of 15 are securely restrained with either a safety belt or child restraint.  Children must be properly restrained by an approved child restraint until their 7th birthday.

The Transport Agency wishes everyone a safe Anzac break.

 

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