Final work is underway to have the Wellington Street on-ramp in central Auckland ready to re-open for traffic joining the northbound lanes of State Highway 1 motorway next Monday morning (8 October).
The on-ramp has been closed since May 2010 and rebuilt by the NZ Transport Agency as part of the Victoria Park Tunnel project
The final programme of work includes lane marking to help on-ramp and motorway traffic merge safely just before the entrance to the Victoria Park Tunnel. Ramp signals – to help regulate the flow of traffic joining the motorway – are already in place, and a new pedestrian crossing has been installed at the entrance to the on-ramp.
The NZTA’s acting State highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Steve Mutton, says drivers will need to be alert and patient as on-ramp traffic joins the motorway.
“We expect that there will be delays and queuing, especially at peak times, as people adjust to the new driving conditions. With Wellington Street so close to the tunnel entrance, people using the motorway and the on-ramp will need to drive with care and patience to help ensure they merge safely,” Mr Mutton says.
To help people adjust to the new conditions, the NZTA will operate Wellington Street’s ramp signals from 8am to 8pm. Ramp signals normally operate automatically only when needed – if there is an incident on the motorway network, or motorway traffic is heavy.
“This is a safety measure we will use to help people. When drivers are used to the new layout, the ramp signals will only operate when needed as they do elsewhere on our network,” Mr Mutton says.
Mr Mutton reminds drivers of the pedestrian crossing located at the entrance to the on-ramp.
“The on-ramp will be busy and the crossing is there to provide safe access for the local community – those people who live there and children from the nearby Freemans Bay School.”
The NZTA and Auckland Transport agreed earlier this year to re-open motorway access at Welling ton street after a detailed investigation into the on-ramp’s future use, which involved community feedback and detailed analysis of traffic using the motorway and local roads.
Mr Mutton says re-opening Wellington Street means that drivers have the choice of using four central city on-ramps to join the motorway to access the Auckland Harbour Bridge, and the North Shore and beyond. The others are SH16 through Grafton Gully, Fanshawe Street and Curran Street.
Mr Mutton says the NZTA is advising them to select the on-ramp closest to them to help ensure that traffic joins the motorway as smoothly and as quickly as possible.
The re-opening of the Wellington Street on-ramp will coincide with another change for traffic joining the motorway from Fanshawe Street. From Monday, drivers using Beaumont Street in Wynyard Quarter will be allowed to turn right in to Fanshawe Street and access the motorway north through St Marys Bay. Access to Fanshawe Street from Halsey Street is not affected and remains the best access from the Wynyard Quarter.