Kia ora and welcome to an update from the Transmission Gully team.

Kia ora

It’s now been almost four months since Te Aranui o Te Rangihaeata, Transmission Gully motorway opened to traffic and we continue to see an average of about 23,000 vehicles on the road every day. 

We’ve now moved into the next phase of the Public Private Partnership contract. With the road open to the public, the friendly Ventia team, who are operating the motorway, have been out and about attending to incidents, ensuring public safety and that the traffic is flowing smoothly. Meanwhile, the builder is completing their surrounding construction works (such as planting and drainage), and they are also ensuring that the road is being well maintained until the construction has been completed. Once construction is completed, the maintenance of the road will be handed over to Ventia.

Easter weekend was the first big test for Transmission Gully. The motorway flowed smoothly without any delays or congestion, handling an increase of about 3,600 vehicles on Wednesday and Thursday prior to the long weekend. The traffic peaked on Friday morning, where we saw just over 2,000 vehicles per hour heading north.

Early May, we celebrated our 1 millionth vehicle to use Transmission Gully, and continue to receive lots of great feedback from people about the difference a more reliable journey has made.

In June we saw some wild weather patterns, including high winds, torrential rain, tornados and flooding. Transmission Gully provided much needed resilience as commuters were grateful to be able to revert to Transmission Gully when SH59 was temporarily closed due to flooding in Mana and Plimmerton, an event that would have previously caused some major disruption.

In this newsletter we take the opportunity to profile Ventia, revisit the smart technology Ventia is using to keep the road safe and traffic flowing, ask a few ‘locals’ what they think of Transmission Gully and provide some safe driving tips for winter. 

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Meet the friendly Ventia team

Ventia incident response vehicle.

Ventia’s transport team are proud to provide operation services to Wellington Gateway Partnership for the 25-year concession period of the Transmission Gully Motorway, in what is the first roading Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in New Zealand. Ventia has had a team in Wellington since the very beginning of the project, involved in planning, preparing and working with the PPP partners to be ready for the opening and operation of the motorway.  

Ventia Team fixing a median barrier on Transmission Gully.

Ventia has over 5,500 employees and subcontracting partners in New Zealand, with 17 people supporting Transmission Gully motorway, including eight network stewards and five motorway controllers. Ventia has been working with clients here for over 25 years to support projects that connect communities. Most notably, Ventia operates and maintains services to the national electricity grid for Transpower, has been part of delivering ultra-fast broadband to thousands of homes, laying undersea cables to connect Waiheke Island and remote areas of the South Island, and has maintained road networks in North and South Island regions for over 20 years. 

Looking North at the traffic on Te Ara a Toa Bridge, Ventia response vehicle in nearest lane.

Ventia’s wealth of experience working in both New Zealand and Australia will be invaluable, as their kaitiaki (operation) over the 27 km four lane motorway includes maintaining four interchanges, two link roads, 23 bridge structures (the largest structure, Te Ara a Toa is 230 metres long and 60 metres high), approximately 100 transverse culverts, 70 km of open drainage swales, 90 km of traffic barriers, approximately 900 traffic signs, and the surrounding environment, including 600 ha of planted areas, maintenance of fences and environmental barriers, mowing and weeding vegetation, and controlling predators (especially in ecologically protected areas).

That’s a lot!

Ventia’s core jobs in managing the road are to ensure the safety of the public and achieve optimum safe lane availability. Day-to-day Ventia are contracted to repair and restore any damage to the road quickly and safely, provide incident support, and give travellers up-to-date information to ensure a safe journey.

Based at the operations centre in Pāuatahanui, Ventia manages any planned road closures due to safety checks or maintenance, and form part of the team that manages any incidents (including breakdowns, accidents, or large events such as natural disasters).

The Ventia incident response vehicle attends up to 25 incidents per day on the Transmission Gully motorway.

Ventia has highly skilled response crews, who are dispatched to manage incidents, no matter how big or small.  They attended 277 incidents in April and 106 in May. The majority of these were for stopped or slow vehicles (220 in April and 69 in May) or debris on the road (38 in April and 10 in May). 

The Ventia response and surveillance team are in regular contact with the operations control room as well as the police and emergency services if needed.

Its operations control room (which operates 24/7) works closely with the Wellington Traffic Operations Centre, Police, Fire Emergency NZ and other service providers in providing assistance that minimises disruption and maximises safety.

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Using technology to keep the road safe

The Ventia team can be seen out on Transmission Gully every day on their regular road patrols. Access to real time information from radar and camera technology helps to ensure they respond to incidents quickly.

The operations control room at Ventia.

In a first for New Zealand, Transmission Gully has been fitted with, and is now refining use of a radar system.  The radar units monitor traffic movements and can identify if a vehicle has stopped, is travelling at a speed below a set threshold, or going the wrong way, as well as debris or people walking on the road. The units, positioned every 100m along the entire length of the Transmission Gully motorway each have a 500m radius and will trigger an alarm in the operations centre if they detect a problem. Pan, tilt and zoom cameras are located at key spots along the motorway, so operators can instruct the nearest camera to swivel around to give them more information about what is going on. Ventia can then send out the Incident Response Team, and help coordinate traffic management vehicles, and Emergency Services if needed.

Pouāwhā, the high specification weather station (pictured right), also plays an important role in keeping people safe on the Transmission Gully motorway. The station, strategically positioned on the Wainui Saddle - the highest point of the road at 253m above sea level, picks up high winds, heavy rainfall and fog.

Meteorologist Lisa Murray from the MetService, says motorists need to be prepared for different weather conditions: “As expected, motorists have experienced reduced visibility on the motorway during heavy rainfall, fog and low cloud. As the summit is pretty high (we’re talking twice the height of Ngauranga Gorge) we are basically driving in the clouds at times.”

The station sensors measure temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity, rainfall, visibility, atmospheric pressure and solar radiation. In addition, Ventia also gathers information from four airport-grade visibility sensors that monitor fog or mist along the route.

Electronic billboards (called VMS Signs) display safety messages and trip travel times.

Between the Ventia operations team and MetService forecasters, the sensors are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the information is used to warn motorists about conditions on Transmission Gully via bright Variable Message Signs (VMS). The public can also receive weather watches and warnings on the MetService website and app.


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What do the locals think?

We asked some of the ‘locals’ who are using Transmission Gully motorway on a regular basis about their thoughts and experiences since opening.

Geoff McDonnell lives on the Kapiti Coast, as the Commercial Manager for UDC. He travels throughout the region to meet with clients.

“Transmission Gully has been a revelation for me. I have clients all over the Wellington region and so being able to get from home on the Kapiti Coast to the Hutt Valley and into the city quickly and reliably is just fantastic. The kids also have plenty of sport on the weekends around the region so that’s been far easier and consistent also. I have used Transmission Gully each day since opening, I have not had one delay in that whole time, and any breakdowns have been dealt with quickly and efficiently. It’s simply been a game changer and well worth the wait.”


Kevin Hodge lives on the Kapiti Coast, as a Gas Field Service Coordinator for Wellington. He commutes into Wellington daily.

“Living on the Kapiti Coast and commuting to work for the last 10 years has felt like a bit of a chore, with ‘TG’ in full swing it feels like I have extra time on my hands. On the first few drives it felt like driving on an Upper North Island Motorway but then you realise you’re gliding along into Wellington. Now, it feels like it’s always been there!”


For over 40 years Margaret Kennedy regularly drove from Maungaraki to Paraparaumu visiting her parents and sister. Now retired in Kapiti, Margaret often travels back the other way to visit old friends and neighbours.

“I love the views, the whole experience feels calm and hassle free.  The trip (from Maungaraki to Paraparaumu) used to take roughly an hour, but more often than not there were major delays on State Highway 1 caused by accidents and traffic build ups, particularly on Friday afternoons and holiday weekends. Since the Transmission Gully motorway opened, the journey is a whole lot shorter. Travel time between Mackays Crossing and the bottom of Haywards Hill is about 9 minutes compared with almost 25 minutes on a good day before.”


Pastors Natalie and Mason Griffin from Kapiti Connect Church have recently opened a new campus in Tawa and have been regularly commuting to prepare for the opening. 

“We just love the new Transmission Gully highway. The reduced travel time and ease of travel really makes it feel like the new Tawa campus is just down the road. It's amazing how the new road has brought the Kapiti Coast so much closer to the Wellington region and vice versa. It's easy to see that it significantly increases the connectivity between the regions for people and businesses.”


Maryanne lives in Titahi Bay, as a busy mum of three and a business director she commutes into Waikanae daily. Her mum and youngest son’s daycare centre is also based in Waikanae.

“We love being able to get on at Kenepuru, put on the cruise control and just roll on out with no delays or stops through to Waikanae. It’s a great way of getting to work”.

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Winter driving tips

Earlier this month we experienced some extreme weather conditions in Wellington and up the West Coast of the Kapiti region. The wild weather, described by MetService as ‘an intense weather system’ resulted from a combination of cold air from Antarctica and warm sea temperatures in the Tasman Sea. MetService issued a number of severe weather warnings for wind, torrential rain, tornados, flooding and thunderstorms, and the Ventia team were kept very busy, contending with power cuts, surface flooding, slips and road closures. 

When there are severe weather warnings in place it is best to stay at home, but if you need to travel on the motorway during high winds, heavy fog, rain, or at night, below are some safe driving tips to remember.

  1. Plan ahead. The traffic and travel information site lists current road conditions and any delays, hazards or closures on the state highway network including Transmission Gully Motorway.
  2. Drive to the road conditions. Vehicles can get into a skid as a result of sudden braking, over-steering, surface flooding or driving unknowingly onto ice. Keep a safe distance between cars, accelerate smoothly, brake gently, use higher gears when travelling uphill and lower gears when downhill, and keep to the speed limit.
  3. Follow the four second rule. Weather conditions can affect stopping distance – it takes longer to stop on slippery, frosty roads. In winter, especially in poor weather, double the two-second rule to create a safe distance behind the car you’re following.
  4. Have your lights on, but dip down. When travelling in fog or heavy rain you will have better visibility with your lights dipped.
  5. Avoiding sun strike. Sun strike is actually more likely to happen in winter, as the sun is lower in the sky. To help minimise the effects, keep your windscreen clean (inside and out), wear sunglasses when driving and use the car’s sun visors to block it out. Sometimes, the only safe thing to do is pull over and wait for a few minutes until the angle of the sun changes.
  6. Drive by daylight if possible. During the daytime it is easier to spot hazards and visibility is better. Driving at night requires more concentration and experience.

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Future updates

If you have any questions, please contact us at info.tg@ventia.com. If you have an urgent matter, please call the 24-hour project hotline on 0800 TGINFO.

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