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Transit to close SH1 passing lanes Easter Weekend

MEDIA RELEASE

TRANSIT NEW ZEALAND WELLINGTON REGIONAL OFFICE

19 March 2008

Transit to close SH1 passing lanes this Easter Weekend

In order to improve traffic flows over the Easter weekend, Transit will not be working on the state highway and will close passing lanes on State Highway 1.

Wellington Central Operations Manager Mark owen says traffic is expected to be heavy again on the roads out of and back in to Wellington over the holiday weekend. In order to minimise any potential delays he says work affecting the state highway will finish at midday on Thursday 20 March and not resume until Tuesday, 25 March.

At the same time Transit will also close the Lindale and Waikanae passing lanes. These lanes will reopen on Saturday afternoon, 22 March. On Monday, 24 March at about lunch time, Transit will close the southbound passing lane north of Otaki. This passing lane will be reopened at about 9.00pm. The closing and opening of the passing lanes is dependent on traffic flows so if traffic remains heavy at the start and end of the Easter weekend, the lanes will be closed earlier or remain closed until Transit is satisfied it is practical to reopen them.

Mr Owen says the public express concern that closing the passing lanes causes congestion, which is a common misconception.

“By closing the passing lanes we allow as many as 150 additional vehicles to pass every hour at peak times. It also helps to increase capacity because it produces a steadier flow of single lane traffic along the highway by reducing the conflict at the merge point. This is critical at long weekend like Easter.”

He says this type of closure is put in place regularly at holiday weekends and is effective in both increasing flow and minimising accidents at the merge of passing lanes.

NZ Police Strategic Road Policing Development Manager, Inspector Peter Baird, says the Police support the lane closure process.

“With the anticipated increase in traffic flows, coning off these lanes assists all motorists by preventing individual drivers disrupting traffic as they try and achieve that one car in front advantage. Consistency in driver speed is the key,” Inspector Baird says.

Inspector Baird urged motorists to be patient if they experienced delays leaving and returning to Wellington over the holiday weekend and reminded them to plan their trip, stop and rest and enjoy the drive.

Mr Owen and Inspector Baird joined in wishing everyone a good, safe journey this Easter.


ENDS

Visit us at www.transit govt.nz

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