Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency will close on-and-off-ramps overnight while critical work is done on State Highway 1 (SH1) to avoid a repeat of incidents where drivers have attempted to drive the wrong way up a motorway off-ramp.
On and off-ramp night-time closures have been in place between Johnsonville and Tawa as workers install fibre for new electronic signage and CCTV cameras.
During work at the Tawa interchange, which included the closure of the southbound on-ramp, several drivers travelling north from Tawa towards Takapu Road ignored numerous detour and road closure signs. They then attempted to drive the wrong way up the southbound Tawa off-ramp to access the southbound motorway lanes and continue their journey south.
“Driving the wrong way on any road is a disaster waiting to happen – these incidents put those drivers, our workers and the public at risk,” says Mark Owen, Regional Maintenance and Operations Manager.
Mr Owen says the drivers were only stopped by traffic management workers, who physically prevented them from continuing the wrong way up the off-ramp and onto SH1.
“There was clear traffic management in place all the way through the Tawa interchange, and it was only thanks to the quick thinking of our contractors that a potential disaster was averted.
“Our top priority is keeping everyone safe on the roads, so while this work continues, we have no option but to close both on and off-ramps during the night to prevent people driving in the wrong direction. We acknowledge this will be further inconvenience for the public, but it is the only way to prevent this happening again.”
The southbound on and off-ramps at Tawa will be closed for two weeks from Sunday 28 November between 9pm and 5.30am on Sunday to Thursday nights.
Drivers who would normally use these on and off-ramps are asked to plan ahead and use the local road network via SH1 Mungavin Avenue/Titahi Bay or Churton Park/Glenside interchanges.
The closures are to allow Waka Kotahi to install new technology and signage on SH1 that will help people navigate the road safely and more easily, safety and keep them informed of any incidents or crashes ahead.
It is part of an ongoing programme of improvements to the regional state highway network, which will continue up to and beyond the opening of the Transmission Gully motorway.
For more information follow the Waka Kotahi Wellington Facebook page or visit the Wellington Network Operational Readiness webpage: nzta.govt.nz/wnor
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