The NZ Transport Agency is thanking Wellington motorists who were affected by the recent motorway closures that took place over the weekend and last night between Ngauranga and Aotea Quay.
Regional Performance Manager, Mark Owen says that the full and partial closures went to plan, with the detours running smoothly and contractors successfully getting a huge amount of work done in a short amount of time.
"The public have been really patient and understanding - we know that closing the motorway can be disruptive, and we're thrilled with how Wellingtonians took the closures in their stride.
"It was an immense effort from our contractors to get so much achieved in what were very short time windows, as we didn't want to inconvenience people any more than we absolutely had to. Motorists can now see that a number of gantries have sprung up, and these will form key elements of the new smart motorway that will be up and running next year."
The work saw Fletcher Construction and their subcontractors install the two overhead fixed-sign gantries across the motorway, a gantry on the SH2 off-ramp and one, including a new electronic variable message sign and lane control signs, over the southbound lanes on the Ngauranga flyover. They also completed a concrete pour that will help to enable a fourth lane to be built for northbound traffic.
Three of the four gantries installed were erected without their new signs. That’s because the lanes are not yet in their final position and the signs could be misleading if installed prematurely. They’ll be installed under lane closures at a later stage.
“This completes three of the planned eight closures required as part of the Ngauranga to Aotea upgrade, which is building New Zealand’s first smart motorway here in Wellington," says Mr Owen.
"Fortunately, the biggest closures are now behind us.
"Three more full closures and two partial closures are planned. They’ll be much shorter – approximately four hours northbound/southbound, at night."
Mr Owen advises that these closures are likely to occur in September. The Transport Agency will advise the public well in advance when dates are confirmed.
More information about the 'smart motorway' is available at www.nzta.govt.nz/smartmotorway(external link).
The closures are all part of putting the smarts into Wellington’s urban motorway. The smart motorway will operate between Johnsonville and the Terrace Tunnel. It’ll make travel times more predictable during peak times and free up nearby roads for better public transport trips and improved amenity for pedestrian and cyclists. It will also provide an extra northbound lane between the Aotea Quay on-ramp and Ngauranga, which will be incorporated into the existing motorway footprint. The smart motorway will begin operating early in 2016.