Tow trucks will play an important part in the NZ Transport Agency's initiatives to ensure travel around Auckland is as trouble free as possible during Rugby World Cup 2011.
The heavy and light tow trucks are part of a Special Incident Response unit operated by the NZTA’s Auckland Motorway Alliance that will be parked near the Auckland Harbour Bridge – the most critical section of the network for people travelling between the North Shore and the city - during Rugby World Cup games to respond rapidly to clear a breakdown that might obstruct motorway traffic.
“The tow trucks will be our front row, giving the NZTA the muscle and grunt to help keep the network clear of any obstacles,“ says the NZTA’s Regional Director for Auckland and Northland, Stephen Town. “Our objective during the tournament is to keep the motorways flowing as smoothly as possible for the benefit of rugby fans, and the communities of Auckland that will continue to rely on the motorways for their travel.”
Mr Town says the NZTA is working with Auckland Transport and the Police to ensure travel is as trouble free as possible, for both people using the State Highway network, and those relying on public transport and taxis for their travel.
Additional NZTA and Police staff will be on duty to ensure taxi drivers and taxi companies in Auckland and Northland comply with their legal obligations, including hours of work and accepting short journeys fares.
Thousands of taxis will be displaying orange stickers after passing the NZTA’s additional safety checks for Rugby World Cup 2011.
““We will be doing everything we can to clamp down on undesirable behaviour. The orange stickers will give assurance to passengers relying on taxis, and will also allow us to focus on those taxis companies and drivers that are likely to be less compliant,” Mr Town says.
Mr Town says the NZTA has worked with local authorities, emergency services, and RWC 2011 organisers to develop transport management plans.
From midnight tonight (Tuesday, 6 September), the NZTA will be using its motorway electronic signs to encourage people to plan their travel early for Friday’s official opening celebrations. The Variable Message Signs will carry the message, “Rugby World Cup travel early”.
Mr Town says ppeople should try to stay off Auckland roads as much as possible on Friday to ease the expected extra traffic load - especially around Eden Park and the CBD.
The NZTA also plans other initiatives during Rugby World Cup 2011 to keep traffic flowing as smoothly as possible:
VMS signs will be used extensively throughout the tournament, and people should watch the signs for directions to the appropriate exits for games at Eden Park and North Harbour Stadium.
Works are being restricted on the State Highway network to help keep traffic flowing smoothly.
Mr Town says people will need to drive with care and patience – especially on match days in Auckland and Whangarei.
“Many visiting rugby fans will be unfamiliar with our road layouts and some of our rules – some of them will be used to driving on the right hand side of the road.”
The NZTA is running an extensive advertising campaign to encourage tourists to prepare carefully for their trip and allow more time when driving, so they can arrive safely at their destinations in New Zealand.
“We want to, where possible, help prevent people’s Rugby World Cup 2011 from being marred by an avoidable tragedy on our roads. Our goal is to ensure the tournament is not only a winning one for New Zealand, but a safe one as well. Mr Town says.