West Auckland commuters will take a step closer to safer journeys this holiday season when the NZ Transport Agency opens part of the new Selwood Road Bridge to traffic at the Lincoln Road interchange on the Northwestern Motorway (State Highway 16) on Monday 19 December.
Two lanes will open to traffic marking completion of the first half of the bridge as part of the Lincoln Road improvements. Motorists will notice the lanes are in their usual layout as construction continues.
"The construction crews pushed ahead to get this part opened before Christmas and the project will deliver significant benefits to one of the busiest industrial areas in Auckland," says the NZTA's State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker.
After opening, crews will demolish piece by piece the existing 45 year old bridge beside it. During this time the SH16 eastbound motorway lanes will be closed between the Brigham Creek Road roundabout and Lincoln Road off-ramp. This will take place from midnight Friday 6 January until midday Sunday 8 January.
Mr Parker says the NZTA is doing its best to minimise disruption to drivers by demolishing the old bridge during the summer holiday period when traffic flows are lighter.
"We're ensuring that we'll be opening all the motorway lanes by midday, in time for most people returning from their Christmas break and heading back to work the following day," he says.
Detour routes will be in place as well as a comprehensive campaign to inform people of their travel choices including live traffic updates on radio and extra electronic signs. People travelling to events in the city are advised to avoid delays by planning their travel well ahead and allowing extra time for their journeys.
The next stage of work will be to build the other half of the new bridge. It 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 CBD.
In the event of wet weather, the bridge will open to traffic on the next fine night during the week of Monday 19 December.