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Smart Motorway info centre opens today in Johnsonville

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Learning about how New Zealand’s first smart motorway will help to smooth out traffic flow has just got easier thanks to a NZ Transport Agency information centre which opens today in Johnsonville.

Wellington’s Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the centre located in the Johnsonville Shopping Centre provides inter-active learning about how the smart motorway, which is being built between the Terrace Tunnel and Johnsonville, will work. 

“Our Smart Capital’s transport system is explained in a really engaging way and provides Wellingtonians with information about  our local transport history,” she says. “ I encourage people to get along to the Johnsonville Shopping Centre and visit the information centre. 

“It’s really refreshing to see technology being used  to help make better use of an existing motorway and create significant flow-on benefits for public transport and movement of freight,” she says. 

The smart motorway will reduce congestion by controlling the flow of vehicles through the use of technology and improved network operation. The key outcomes will be better informed drivers, a safe motorway and reduced journey times. 

The Transport Agency’s Central regional director, Raewyn Bleakley, said the information site explains a range of transport topics, and how the smart motorway fits into the region’s transport picture. 

“Being a New Zealand first, it’s important we help people learn about the smart motorway; what it is and the role drivers have to ensure we all enjoy its benefits. The information site has been designed to do this in an engaging and informative way. 

“One of the highlights is a short video we’ve created which explains the core concept of the smart motorway – how smoothing the flow of traffic gets more vehicles through. People then get to practice the concept for themselves on a one-of-a-kind, custom- built ‘rice wheel’. I don’t want to give too much away, but if you come down to the centre you can try it out for themselves. 

Ms Bleakley says the smart motorway is part of a comprehensive package of transport investment that, in partnership with local government, will transform how people and goods get around the Wellington region. This includes the Wellington Northern Corridor, the Petone to Grenada project, upgrades to the Johnsonville transport network in partnership with Wellington City Council, a proposed shared pathway between Wellington and Hutt Valley, and co-investment with Greater Wellington Regional Council on a wide range of public transport improvements. 

Wellington’s smart motorway is being built between Johnsonville and the Terrace Tunnel. When it’s operational, early in 2016, it’ll make travel times more predictable during peak times and free up nearby roads for better public transport trips.  It will also provide an extra northbound lane between Aotea Quay and Ngauranga, which will be incorporated into the existing motorway ‘footprint’. 

For more information, visit the Smart Motorway Information Site at shop 14 in the Johnsonville Shopping Centre (next to Countdown) or check out nzta.govt.nz/smartmotorway. 

The centre will be opening at 1pm – media are welcome to attend.

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