The NZ Transport Agency is advising motorists to avoid the Te Atatu and Lincoln Road Interchanges in West Auckland this weekend (13-15 January) as it closes a large section of the Northwestern Motorway (State Highway 16) to demolish an old bridge.
The citybound motorway lanes will be closed between the Brigham Creek roundabout and Lincoln Road off-ramp starting from 10pm on Friday (13 January) until midday on Sunday (15 January). The westbound lanes will also be closed between Te Atatu Road off-ramp and Lincoln Road on-ramp.
"We want to cause as little disruption as possible, but this is a busy section of Auckland's motorway network and delays and congestion will be unavoidable and our best advice to people is to stay away if possible," says the NZTA's acting State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Steve Mutton.
"We're taking advantage of the good weather and lighter traffic flows to enable us to demolish the old Selwood Bridge piece by piece. To ensure that the crews can do this safely and as quickly as possible, we need to close the motorway."
The NZTA is recommending that people going west avoid using the Northwestern Motorway altogether from the causeway, as big delays are likely. And for those travelling to east to the city should use the new SH18 Hobsonville Motorway from Westgate, to access the Northern Motorway (SH1) and then travel south over the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
People travelling to events in the city are advised to plan their travel well ahead and allow extra time for their journeys. Detour routes will be in place as well as live traffic updates on radio and extra roadside electronic signs to advise drivers of conditions.
Mr Mutton says he is confident that the motorway lanes will be opened on Sunday, before most people return from their Christmas break to return to work.
"We're aiming to cause the least amount of disruption to commuters and having our crews work around the clock means we can push on to the next stage of improvements work to complete the new bridge.
"Depending on progress and traffic volumes, we may be in a position to open one single lane westbound between Te Atatu and Lincoln Road during the day on Saturday. However, congestion will still be extremely heavy and our best advice to drivers is to stay away completely." he says.
Two lanes on the new Selwood Road Bridge opened to traffic in December completing the first half of the bridge as part of the Lincoln Road Interchange improvements project. The bridge will be fully completed in 2013, with seven lanes for traffic and a shared path for walkers and cyclists. Ramp improvements will improve capacity, safety and trip reliability.
The $100M Lincoln Road improvements are part of a suite of projects in the Western Ring Route - Road of National Significance, prioritised by the Government to support growth and economic development in Auckland. The alternative route to SH1 will improve connections between Manukau in the south, Auckland International Airport, Waitakere and the North Shore, and ease congestion on the Auckland Harbour Bridge and the central city.
For more information, visit www.nzta.govt.nz/aklsummerseason(external link).