With the onset of summer and more reliable construction weather, the NZ Transport Agency is accelerating work to complete improvements on key motorway projects in Auckland that will deliver widespread benefits for all drivers.
"Aucklanders will see an unprecedented level of activity in the motorway summer season ahead, with several major projects coming on stream," says the NZTA's State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker.
"When these projects are complete they will help to boost economic growth, reduce congestion and travel times, and improve driver safety in Auckland - but the support and understanding of Auckland drivers will be critical for the successful completion of these major projects.
"These are big projects and as we enter the final push to complete them there will be periods of severe disruption on some sections of Auckland's motorway network. We'll do everything we can to minimise the disruptions, but we also need drivers to work with us, plan their travel well ahead and allow more time for their journeys," Mr Parker adds.
To minimise disruption to drivers as much as possible, the NZTA is timing its full and partial closures at night, during the weekend, or in the summer holidays to take advantage of lower traffic volumes.
The closures will occur as far south as the Bombay hills, and will also include the Auckland Harbour Bridge and the NZTA's big projects at the Newmarket Viaduct and the Victoria Park Tunnel.
"As more pieces of Auckland's transport jigsaw fall into place, we are committed to delivering the benefits of these projects as quickly as we can. There will, however, be some short-term pain before we can deliver those longer term gains," Mr Parker says.
The timetable for closures is as follows:
"We're at the start of the festive season and thousands of Aucklanders will be moving across the city to celebrate Christmas, do their shopping and attend events like school break-ups. Before leaving home, people should plan ahead and chose their best route," Mr Parker says.
An extensive communication campaign has been prepared, and the NZTA will work closely with Auckland Transport, Police and other key stakeholders to keep drivers informed.
"We will be doing everything we can to ensure drivers are aware of these closures and disruptions so that they have information to make the right choice about how and when they travel," says Mr Parker.
Several new NZTA projects will also get underway during the summer. These include the start of construction on the Waterview project connecting the Southwestern (SH20 ) and Northwestern motorways; the first stage of associated work to raise and widen the Northwestern's upper harbour causeway; construction of a new footbridge across the Northwestern at Westgate (a joint project with Auckland Transport); and improvements to the Papakura interchange on the Southern Motorway.
Mr Parker says the new starts and existing programmes of work reflect the huge investment underway in Auckland's transport infrastructure.
"The NZTA's contribution will help people and freight travel around more efficiently and help Auckland attain its goal of being a truly international city," he says.