Major road works planned for the Wellington Urban Motorway next month


Three weeks of night closures are planned for Wellington’s Urban Motorway in February to allow significant resurfacing works to be completed.

Parts of the Wellington Urban Motorway will be closed between Ngauranga Interchange and The Terrace Tunnel. This will affect southbound traffic from Sunday, 11 February to Thursday, 15 February, and northbound traffic from Sunday, 18 February to Thursday, 29 February, weather permitting.

Roxanne Hilliard, Manager – Wellington Transport Alliance, says crews will lay over 2.7 lane kilometres of new asphalt in the north and southbound lanes, upgrade lane control signals and do other general maintenance work.

“Renewing the road surface makes the road more durable, safer, and helps reduce the amount of maintenance work needed.”

“While this work will disrupt night-time traffic, the investment helps prevent costlier and more disruptive repairs later. The short-term pain of these works will be more than offset by the long-term gains they will bring,” Ms Hilliard says.

The work will require motorway closures while it is underway.

Ms Hillard says it’s been deliberately timed to minimise disruption for drivers and will happen at night when traffic volumes are much lighter.

“Full closures reduce traffic management costs, are safer to drivers, provide safer working conditions for road crews, allow multiple jobs to be done simultaneously, and reduce the overall time the work will take.” 

“Doing it all at once means the job isn’t split over multiple weeks throughout the year. Commuters and affected residents only have to deal with the impact once rather than having to plan for multiple instances. It’s simpler, easier to manage, and creates fewer hassles for the public,” Ms Hilliard says.

She says local road detours will be available, but the closures and the detours will affect travel times. 

“We expect congestion on the detour routes, and drivers should allow extra time for their journeys. Residents, businesses in the affected area, and travellers with airport connections need to be especially aware,” Ms Hilliard says.

People who live between The Terrace and Bowen Street in the city and close to the urban motorway can expect to hear noise at night as heavy machinery will be operating. The intention is for road crews to carry out the noisiest works (eg road milling) at the start of the night to minimise noise disturbances as much as possible.

Works schedule and detour routes

Traffic Management set-up and lane closures will begin at 7 pm. Work will start at 9 pm each shift when the highway is closed. This will affect drivers as there will be congestion on the urban motorway from 7 pm.

Southbound only:

  • Sunday night, 11 February, 9 pm – 4 am
    • SH1 and SH2 closed to southbound traffic between the Ngauranga interchange and the Terrace Tunnel.
    • Southbound traffic must detour down Hutt Road.
    • Northbound traffic can travel as normal along the urban motorway.
  • Monday, 12 February to Thursday, 15 February, 9 pm – 4 am
    • SH1 closed to southbound traffic between south of the Aotea Quay off-ramp and The Terrace Tunnel.
    • Southbound traffic can detour down Hutt Road or exit the motorway at Aotea Quay.
    • Northbound traffic can travel as normal along the urban motorway.

Northbound only:

  • Sunday 18 February to Thursday 29 February, 9 pm – 4am
    • SH1 closed to northbound traffic at various locations between The Terrace Tunnel and the Aotea Quay on-ramp.
    • The official detour for northbound traffic will be available on the WTA website next week
    • Southbound traffic can travel as normal along the urban motorway

Project facts and figures

Work crews will:

  • Mill and pave approximately 2.7 kilometres of new asphalt on the urban motorway between the Terrace Tunnel and the Ngauranga Interchange. 928 m southbound and 1,863 m northbound.
  • We will also upgrade 33 lane control digital signs in both the north and southbound lanes.  These will provide better visibility to commuters.
  • Carry out other general maintenance work. This includes clearing vegetation, landscaping, removing graffiti, clearing drains, road sweeping, and replacing line markings.

More information on this project and other Wellington roadworks can be found on our website: