The drive south on State Highway 1 from Auckland's North Shore will change for good in early January when the NZ Transport Agency opens the flyover across Victoria Park in a new southbound-only layout.
From 9 January, all four lanes on the flyover will carry southbound traffic and the NZTA is advising drivers to prepare well for the changes, which are being made as part of the staged completion of the Victoria Park Tunnel project.
"Drivers will need to be in the correct lane for their destination. If they're not, they could end up somewhere where they don't want to go," says Tommy Parker, the NZTA"s State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland. "This will be the biggest change on Auckland's central motorway network since the viaduct was opened in 1962."
Mr Parker says there will be no opportunity for drivers to change direction once they are on the flyover because the central barrier that previously separated northbound and southbound traffic will remain.
The southbound lanes to the left of the barrier will take drivers off SH1 to the CBD via Cook Street, east to the Port and west to the North Western Motorway (SH16). The two lanes to the right of the barrier will continue south on SH1 to Newmarket and beyond.
"We are strongly recommending that drivers chose their correct lane early, while they are still on the North Shore approaching the harbour bridge to reduce dangerous lane changes through St Marys Bay," Mr Parker says. "It's well proven internationally that drivers don't gain anything by frequent lane changing. In fact, they slow the entire network down. By getting into the correct lane early, and staying in that lane, they will help make the drive through St Marys Bay a lot safer and smoother for everyone."