With traffic expected to be heavy over the Xmas/New Year holiday period, the New Zealand Transport Agency is advising motorists to plan ahead to avoid potential delays.
During peak travel times, NZTA will be closing the SH 1 northbound passing lanes, south of Waikanae and north of Te Horo, as well as the southbound passing lane, north of Otaki.
The closure of the northbound passing lanes will take effect from 10.00am on Friday, 23 December and reopen at approx mid to late afternoon Saturday 24 December, subject to traffic flows.
On Monday 2 January, NZTA will close the SH 1 southbound passing lane, north of Otaki, just prior to midday and will reopen around 8.00pm on Tuesday 3 January, depending on traffic volumes. This passing lane will also be closed just prior to midday on Sunday, 9 January and will reopen around 8.00pm, depending on traffic volumes.
Wellington Operations Manager Mark Owen says the closure of the passing lanes, which are supported by the Police, is done for safety purposes and to improve traffic flows.
"The lanes will be appropriately signposted and fenced off with traffic cones, but we're reminding people to obey the normal road rules by keeping left."
"If traffic remains heavy, passing lanes will remain closed longer until we are satisfied traffic flows have reduced."
Mr Owen says "NZTA will be working with NZ Police to monitor congestion through Otaki and, if required, will instigate temporary traffic management measures to improve traffic flow."
The NZTA will stop all road works on the State Highway network over this period from 12.30pm on Thursday 22 December until 9.00am on Monday, 9 January. This excludes any work needed to be done for emergency purposes and routine maintenance activities.
This means the Mt Victoria Tunnel and Terrace Tunnel will be open at night during this period.
Meanwhile, Mr Owen said people should plan their journeys well in advance, drive with patience and avoid taking chances when turning or overtaking. "Driving with courtesy can keep traffic flowing smoothly and helps ensure the roads remain safe. We also encourage drivers to take breaks to avoid driver fatigue".