The NZ Transport Agency has funded the installation of a weather station and webcam at Dunedin’s northern motorway’s highest point, the Leith Saddle. The solar-powered station is being maintained by the MetService under a partnership agreement, said Transport Agency Otago/ Southland Journey Manager Graeme Hall.
MetService recently completed the commissioning of the Automated Weather Station and webcam on the Leith Saddle, aiming to improve road weather forecasting and communications provided by the Transport Agency.
The new service will help reduce delays for road users when the motorway ices up or when it snows, said Graeme Hall.
The web cameras and weather station are now “live” and the images can be seen on the MetService(external link) web page and after Queen’s Birthday weekend(external link) on the Transport Agency’s pages. Single images will be uploaded every four minutes on the Transport Agency web pages. (Existing Transport Agency web cameras for Dunedin are on Andersons Bay Road, and Caversham.)
“The weather station and web cameras will let people see before they leave home what the road is like, the temperature of the road and if anti-freeze has been applied.
“From 1 July, an electronic message board will also let drivers know at Palmerston what the conditions are like,” said Mr Hall. “On top of this, our maintenance contractor will have machinery to tow any vehicles blocking the motorway from 1 July. This was the reason for increased delays last year, even after the snow had been cleared.”
The contracting team would also be stationed at each end of the motorway to police the no-towing vehicles rule in serious winter weather conditions like snow and ice from 1 July.
The capital cost of the new winter safety measures is around $75,000, said Mr Hall.
The Transport Agency ran meetings in July last year with regular users of the road to work out which safety and information measures would help them the most.