The NZ Transport Agency is advising drivers to allow more time for journeys to Auckland International Airport this weekend because of overnight closures on Saturday and Sunday (14 and 15 May) on a section of the Southwestern Motorway (State Highway 20) linked to safety work at the Walmsley Road off ramp at Mangere Bridge.
On Saturday (14 May), the southbound lanes on both SH20 and SH20A will be closed from Walmsley Road to the Kirkbride Road intersection from 9pm until seven o'clock the next morning. The right hand lane of SH20A northbound will also be closed at this time. Detours for southbound drivers will be in place from the Walmsley Road offramp. Those heading to the airport will be directed to McKenzie and Kirkbride Roads, and those travelling to Manukau and further south will be directed to Massey Road.
On Sunday night (15 May), the same section of the southbound motorway will be closed again. Drivers will be diverted on to the same detour routes used the previous night. Sunday's closure, however, will not affect northbound lanes and all of them will remain open. .
'Traffic volumes are not usually heavy at this time, nevertheless people heading to the airport should allow some extra time so they arrive safely without the need to rush," says the NZTA's Project Management Services Manager, Tom Newson.
The Saturday night closure is necessary so that a beam supporting the Hall Avenue footbridge spanning the Southwestern Motorway can be replaced.
"The current beam is not long enough to span the motorway which is being widened at this location, and we need to replace it at the weekend so there's no disruption for the many schoolchildren who rely on the footbridge to cross the motorway safely," says Mr Newson. If work replacing the beam is not completed on Saturday, contractors will finish the job the following night.
The closure on Sunday will also allow contractors to lay a new surface on the motorway's southbound lanes.
The length of the Walmsley Road on ramp is being extended as a safety measure to prevent traffic that uses it from making potentially dangerous manoeuvres across a busy motorway to reach the lanes for the airport. The improvements are due to be completed in late June.