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Warnings of major traffic delays after Christmas

Media release 27 November 2000


Advance warnings of major traffic delays after Christmas

Transit New Zealand is issuing an early warning to Auckland motorists about likely delays to motorway traffic on the Auckland Harbour Bridge (AHB) and St Mary’s Bay during and after the holiday period.

Two major projects are being undertaken during that time, and the advice to motorists is to consider temporarily changing their driving patterns.

The projects are the final stage of the resealing of the AHB, and major work on the Shelly Beach Road off ramp.

The resealing is the last section of a five-year project to reseal the clip on lanes of the AHB with a modern polyurethane coating. This annual event was put on hold last year to allow for increased traffic with the America’s Cup and Millennium activities. The work this year means lanes 1 and 2 southbound (the city-side clip-on lanes) will be closed from 26 December, to the early hours of Monday 8 January 2001.

The second project is the upgrading of the Shelly Beach Road off ramp and motorway overbridge. The off ramp will be closed from 26 December to Wednesday 14 February 2001. Lane 1 of the southbound clip on of the AHB and Westhaven Drive from the roundabout to Shelly Beach Road will be closed for the same period. Vehicles leaving Westhaven will exit via Westhaven Drive and Beaumont Street.

Transit New Zealand Northern Regional Manager, Wayne McDonald says that the work is unavoidable and has been scheduled for the least busy time of the year to minimise inconvenience to the public.

“Going by previous years, we are confident that the AHB resealing will cause minimum disruption,” he says. “Weather permitting, the bridge will be fully opened before the main bulk of Aucklanders return from the Christmas break, so provided people are aware of the closure, avoid peak times and take alternative routes where they can, traffic should stay flowing.”

The Shelly Beach Road off ramp closure is likely to cause more disruption Mr McDonald believes.

“This closure will affect traffic from Christmas through to the second week in February, and while traffic numbers are reduced during the summer period, there are still thousands of vehicles on the road during this time.

“Closing the Shelly Beach Road off ramp means up to an additional 12,000 vehicles per day will be feeding into the Fanshawe Street off ramp at key times. During the morning peak, this is likely to cause major traffic hold-ups at the Fanshawe St/Beaumont St intersection. There is nowhere else for vehicles to go, and with the best traffic plans in the world there will be delays.”

Mr McDonald says it is very important that Auckland drivers are aware of the forthcoming delays, and where possible to plan for them.

“We will be suggesting that drivers take alternative routes, such as on the Northwestern motorway, travel off peak where ever possible and look at alternative means of transport such as buses and ferries,” he says.

Transit will be reminding drivers of the closures closer to the time with advertising and community notices, as well as signage on the motorways and near the bridge. There will also be a free call number kept updated (0800 RESEAL).

In the meantime, Mr McDonald advises Aucklanders who use the AHB to seriously consider holidays and driving patterns during this time.

“This road work is crucial for the safety of Auckland drivers, and for the long term benefits that will improve the traffic problems we have.

“Our objective is to improve southbound traffic flows across the Bridge and through St Mary’s Bay during peak periods.

“We ask Auckland to be patient during the necessary delays.”

ends

For further information, please contact

Wayne McDonald
Northern Regional Manager
Transit New Zealand
Tel: 09 357 1785


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