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Auckland motorway changes in response to Alert Level 3 extension

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency advises that it’s making several changes to traffic management on Auckland’s motorway network while the region is in COVID-19 Alert Level 3.

The changes follow the Government’s extension of Alert Level 3 for another 12 days and anticipate there being reduced traffic on Auckland’s motorways. The rest of the country will also remain at Alert Level 2.

On Wednesday, the first day of Alert Level 3 in Auckland, motorway traffic was down more than 26% on a week ago. Yesterday, motorway traffic was 46% less than last Thursday, says Auckland Operations Manager, Rua Pani.

During Alert Level 3 in May, traffic volumes on Auckland motorways were about 50% less than normal.

  • On the Auckland Harbour Bridge, the eight lanes will be left in their off peak 4 x 4 configuration. The lanes are usually changed to a 5 x 3 configuration four times a day in response to morning and evening peak traffic flows, by moving the mobile lane barrier.
  • Motorway ramp signals across the region will also be turned off. The automated stop/go lights are designed to improve safety for merging traffic and improve traffic flow on the motorways, enabling better and more consistent journey times.
  • The variable speed limits on SH16 between St Lukes and Rosebank and on SH20 between Maioro Street and Dominion Road will be left at 100kmh. The VSL system usually operates automatically during peak traffic periods, reducing the speed limit to improve safety while managing and smoothing traffic flows.

Rua Pani says Auckland motorway traffic volumes and the changes above will be monitored in real time and can be adjusted quickly if there is increased traffic demand.

  • Regular planned night time closures on the motorway network will continue under Alert Level 3, with maintenance crews working under strict health and safety protocols. For closures details, see nzta.govt.nz/traffic/auckland(external link)

Under Alert level 3, travel is restricted to minimise the risk of transmission and the spread of COVID-19. You can travel within your local area, for example going to work or school, shopping, or getting exercise. Public transport can continue to operate with strict health and safety requirements.

See the COVID-19 website for more information.(external link)

If you must go out, Waka Kotahi advises motorists to drive carefully, be alert, be kind to other road users and keep to the speed limit.

“We know from lockdown earlier this year that more people were out exercising and getting some fresh air and we urge drivers to stay alert and take care around cyclists and pedestrians,” says Rua Pani.

“People should maintain physical distancing when they’re out walking and cycling. However, pedestrians and cyclists are also much more vulnerable to injury than drivers in a crash. If you’re driving a vehicle it’s crucial to stay alert, slow down and give plenty of room when passing people on bikes or on foot.”

“Also when driving through road work sites, be patient and respectful and look out for the workers’ safety and wellbeing.”

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