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Wellington’s smart motorway now operational northbound

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Commuters heading north on Wellington’s urban motorway will now get a smoother trip as the new lane is fully opened and New Zealand’s first smart motorway is turned on in the northbound direction.

“While the construction programme for the southbound lane has been delayed due to recent wet weather, the northbound lane is ready and operational,” NZ Transport Agency Wellington highway manager Neil Walker says.

“We wanted to make the northbound improvements available to road users as soon as possible, even though we still need about another nine dry nights to complete resurfacing works on the southbound lanes. This means the 70 km/h speed limit will remain southbound until the work is finished,” Mr Walker says. 

“If the weather plays the game and allows us to complete the resurfacing in a couple of weeks, we’ll turn on the southbound smart motorway system in July. We are grateful for the ongoing patience of motorists travelling in and out of Wellington while we complete this important upgrade to our motorway network.”

“Our information campaign also now kicks up a gear encouraging drivers to play their part. The main things for drivers to remember are to follow the signs, stick to the same lane as much as possible and to merge like a zip,” Mr Walker says. “How motorists drive has a big influence on how well the smart motorway works. If people follow these simple steps, everyone will get a smoother ride.”

Smart motorway facts

The smart motorway reduces congestion by smoothing the traffic flow and maximising the number of vehicles that get through. As traffic builds, the system lowers the speed limit which allows vehicles to travel closer to each other, meaning more vehicles can fit on the road at any one time.

The smart motorway will provide safer journeys with more predictable travel times. It will also free up nearby roads for better public transport trips and for pedestrian and cyclists.

More information is available from our website www.nzta.govt.nz/smartmotorway(external link) and from our smart info centre in the Johnsonville Mall. 

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