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Auckland Motorways innovation reduces highway disruption

Auckland Motorways innovation reduces highway disruption

The NZ Transport Agency’s Auckland Motorway Alliance (AMA) is using an innovative method to manage traffic flows and minimise disruption to drivers as it carries out essential highway maintenance and improvements.

The introduction of the interlocking contraflow barriers allows traffic to continue in both directions on a motorway, even when a lane is closed. The contraflow barriers alter normal traffic flows so that vehicles travelling in one direction can be diverted through a motorway or highway median into an opposing lane on the other side.

“The barriers remove the need for a detour route, meaning less disruption to travellers, fewer safety risks, and less wear and tear on local roads caused by heavy vehicles that have been diverted on to them,” says the NZTA’s State Highways manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker.

The New Zealand manufactured contraflow barriers (TL-4) have many uses and can be dismantled easily in emergencies.

The AMA used the contraflow barriers during re-surfacing work on the Southern Motorway (SH1) at Bombay between Mill Road and Nikau Road.

Overnight on Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 November, the median barrier was removed and southbound traffic re-directed into the northbound fast lane. Traffic in both directions was able to continue flowing safely while resurfacing took place.

“Use of the new system meant that traffic on SH1 kept flowing well and safely.” says Mr Parker. “Previously when resurfacing took place in Bombay, full motorway closures and detours were necessary, adding to travel times and directing heavy vehicles onto local roads.”

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Mr Parker says the system also provides safer working conditions for maintenance crews.

The AMA will continue to use the contraflow system between Mill Road and Nikau Road for all maintenance that requires work on both southbound or both northbound lanes. It also plans to start using the barriers at the SH1 Northern Gateway Toll Road tunnels and at other State Highway locations.

The move is part of a strategy by the AMA towards the smart use of technology and innovation to improve people’s driving experiences on Auckland motorways and highways. Earlier this year the AMA introduced Advanced Warning Variable Message Signs; electronic sign boards that inform motorists of upcoming road works and lane closures.

ENDS

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