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Late-night drivers advised to plan for motorway closures

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There will be full and partial night time closures of a section of Auckland's northern motorway [State Highway 1] through St Marys Bay starting next week due to safety work relating to the NZ Transport Agency's Victoria Park Tunnel project.

The motorway will be closed in both directions between the Auckland Harbour Bridge and the Central Motorway Junction next Wednesday night, 19 January, so that a third sign gantry can be installed over the motorway. Drivers travelling south will leave the motorway at the Shelly Beach off ramp and rejoin it at Hobson Street.  Drivers travelling north will leave the motorway at Nelson Street and rejoin it at Curran Street.

Northbound only closures are needed for installing signs on the new gantry, and for removing existing and redundant gantries. The first of these closures will be next Tuesday, 18 January.  Northbound-only closures are also scheduled for Thursday, 20 January, and from Sunday to Wednesday, 23-26 January, the following week.

The NZTA’s acting State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Steve Mutton, says late-night drivers should plan for the closures.

“In particular, we urge shift workers to be aware that access to and from the motorway north will change, and they should allow extra time for their journeys” says Mr Mutton.

Mr Mutton says “the northbound Fanshawe Street and Wellington Street motorway on ramps and the northbound Port to SH16 link will also be closed during the northbound motorway closures.  The Fanshawe Street on ramp will close first, at 10.30pm”.  

All closures will be lifted by 5am the following day so that there is no disruption to morning peak traffic flows. 

The sign gantry being installed next Wednesday night will run the width of 10 traffic lanes between the St Marys Bay cliffs and Westhaven Drive, approximately mid-way between the Auckland Harbour Bridge and the Victoria Park motorway viaduct. 

“It is essential for the safe operation of the busiest section of motorway in the country, including the Auckland Harbour Bridge,” Mr Mutton says.

Like the two gantries erected before Christmas, the gantry is being installed by crane as a single unit.

 “This is a potentially tricky operation that cannot start until after midnight and must be completed within three hours to ensure that the motorway can be re-opened by 5am.” 

“The two previous installations went without a hitch and with minimal disruption for nearby residents and, weather permitting, this one will be the same,” Mr Mutton says. 

The Victoria Park Tunnel project is one of seven roads of national significance, identified by the Government as essential to New Zealand’s economic prosperity.  It will be the first to be completed and will result in more reliable travel on the country’s busiest route for freight and business travel.

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