The NZ Transport Agency has welcomed news that rail services are likely to be back to normal tomorrow, spelling an end to the severe congestion that has affected Wellington in recent days.
NZTA Central Operations Manager Mark Owen says the resumption of normal rail services is likely to mean a reduction in the peak hour delays that have disrupted the highways since last week's storm.
"Tranz Metro services carry thousands of commuters every day, and in recent days we've seen many of those travellers spill onto the highway network in their cars, causing extensive congestion."
"We now expect many travellers to return to using trains, easing pressure on the highways between the Hutt and Wellington."
Mr Owen says Wellingtonians had responded admirably to calls to plan their journeys in advance to reduce delays on the roads.
"We've seen a decrease in those delays over the last couple of days thanks to people spreading out their travel times, working from home and carpooling. It's a credit to Wellingtonians that they've gone out of their way to adapt their travel plans, and that's helped to reduce travel times and relieve stress on fellow commuters.
"We would like to wholeheartedly thank Wellington travellers for being so patient, flexible and understanding over the last few days."
Mr Owen has applauded both KiwiRail and Greater Wellington for their outstanding response to setbacks to transport services that are unprecedented in recent years.
"KiwiRail and Greater Wellington have put in a phenomenal effort during a very challenging time, and Wellington travellers will be very relieved to hear that rail services will be back on earlier than initially expected.
"Our hats especially go off to the hard-working and heroic crews who have toiled long hours on the tracks to restore Wellington's transport network to full capacity."
Mr Owen reminded motorists that delays were still likely this evening while train services were still disrupted, and the best way to beat the traffic is to travel either side of peak hour by leaving work earlier or later than usual.
He says the NZTA, along with partners Wellington City Council, are monitoring traffic levels closely from Wellington's Traffic Operations Centre, and will be updating electronic information signs and issuing traffic alerts and tweets to keep motorists informed in real time.
The NZTA’s website is regularly updated with information about most delays, closures and detours at www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic(external link). This information is also available by phoning the NZTA’s free phone on 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49), which can also be used to report any significant road issues or hazards which people may come across during their travels. People can follow @nztawgtn on Twitter for live updates, and check the NZTA’s traffic website to check out live traffic camera feeds..
The NZTA also uses other technology to provide information to enable drivers to make better informed choices about their travel. On The Move is a free service which enables people to sign up for information about crashes, road works and driving conditions on their frequently used routes - to sign up, go to www.onthemove.govt.nz(external link).
People can sign up to Greater Wellington's Let's Carpool service at www.letscarpool.govt.nz/in-your-area/wellington-region(external link)