Aucklanders returning home from Northland this weekend after their Christmas holidays are reminded by the NZ Transport Agency to drive with care because of significant developments on Auckland's motorway network while they have been away.
There will be severe disruption on a section of the Northwestern Motorway (State Highway 16) this weekend (13-15 January) when an old bridge at the Lincoln Road interchange is demolished, and permanent changes have been made to the layout of lanes on the busy Victoria Park flyover on SH1 in central Auckland.
"We are making some big motorway improvements around the city, and people who have been away will need to be aware that there are changes and to drive with care when they get back home," says the NZTA's acting State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Steve Mutton.
This Friday (13 January) work will start on demolishing the Selwood Road bridge over the Northwestern Motorway as part of the NZTA's $100m upgrade of the Lincoln Road interchange. From 10pm on Friday until midday on Sunday (15 January), the motorway's citybound lanes will be closed from the Brigham Creek roundabout to the Lincoln Road off-ramp, and westbound lanes will be closed between the Te Atatu Road off-ramp and the Lincoln Road on-ramp.
"There will be considerable delays, and we're advising people to avoid the area," says Mr Mutton.
The Victoria Park flyover is now operating in a new layout to carry four lanes of southbound traffic - one of the most significant changes to Auckland's driving conditions since the flyover opened 50 years ago to carry two-way traffic.
"Drivers will not be able to change lanes on the flyover and they need to be in the correct one as early as possible - preferably before they reach the Auckland Harbour Bridge - to avoid ending up in the wrong place," Mr Mutton says.
The two lanes to the right of the flyover's central barrier - the old northbound lanes - only go south on SH1 to destinations in south Auckland and beyond. The two to the left connect with Auckland's CBD, the city's port, and with the Northwestern Motorway.
"We want people to get back home safely after their holidays, and when they return to Auckland it is a case of expecting the unexpected," Mr Mutton says.
The improvements at Lincoln Road are part of the development of the Western Ring Route alternative motorway for Auckland and, along with the Victoria Park Tunnel project, are two of the Government's roads of national significance to help support economic growth in New Zealand.