The NZ Transport Agency has re-opened all southbound lanes on Auckland's Southern Motorway (State Highway 1) - two hours early than planned after a successful overnight operation to connect or stitch together the new southbound and northbound viaducts across Newmarket.
Three of the four southbound lanes on the viaduct were closed at 6pm last night (Saturday, 3 September) and were due to re-open at midday today. The NZTA lifted the closures at ten o'clock this morning.
The NZTA's State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker, thanked drivers for their support during the closure.
"We were able to complete the concrete stitch ahead of schedule and the cooperation of drivers helped to make this possible. Most people planned their journeys to allow extra time for their travel or avoided the viaduct altogether. Once the early evening rush had passed, traffic flowed smoothly."
The lanes were closed so that the NZTA and its partners on the Newmarket Viaduct replacement project could fill the 1.1 metre-wide gap between the new viaducts with concrete to make one complete structure.
Thirty-two truckloads of concrete and 40 contractors working in teams of six "stitched" the 690 metre-long gap. The pour was completed ahead of schedule at 11.45pm and then the concrete was allowed to set.
Mr Parker praised the contractors who worked through the night.
"It was a great display of team work, and their commitment to get the job done has helped minimise any disruption to drivers," Mr Parker says.
Now that the Stitch has been completed, work will continue to prepare the new northbound half of the viaduct for traffic. Switching traffic from the existing northbound viaduct to its improved and stronger replacement will be made over Auckland Anniversary weekend, 28-30 January. This will involve closing all three northbound lanes of the motorway at Newmarket for 36 hours. Diversions will be in place and clearly marked.
"It's a critical few weeks for the Newmarket project - one of our most important undertakings as part of the NZTA's Motorways Summer Season programme to improve the flow of traffic safely through central Auckland" says Mr Parker.