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SH1 commute times cut following Hawkestone Street changes

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Wellington commuters are enjoying shorter journeys and the roads have been made safer for pedestrians and cyclists following a new road layout introduced by the NZ Transport Agency and Wellington City Council to deter queue-jumpers at Hawkestone Street.

The Hawkestone Street intersection with State Highway 1 was regularly used by some morning commuters as a detour to skip ahead of queues when travelling south on State Highway 1. This caused delays when they attempted to merge back in with the flow of State Highway 1 traffic.

The Transport Agency’s Regional Transport Systems Manager Mark Owen says the new layout was introduced in March this year to address these safety and congestion issues.

“Since the new layout, travel times have been one to two minutes faster in the peak weekday flow from Murphy Street to The Terrace Tunnel/off-ramp. That’s a big saving over just a few hundred metres and it’s purely because there are fewer vehicles re-entering State Highway 1 from the Hawkestone Street southbound on-ramp.

“People may have thought they were being clever and saving time, but what they were actually doing was creating a longer commute for everyone.”

Safety for pedestrians and cyclists on Hawkestone Street has also improved by reducing the amount of traffic using the morning detour.

“Before the new layout, up to 89 vehicles were using the short cut during the 7-9am peak. In the last four weeks of monitoring, this has dropped to an average of five,” Mr Owen says.

After a two-month monitoring period, which confirmed these positive results, the Transport Agency and Wellington City Council aim to carry out work to make the layout permanent in August.

Permanent changes to the road will include:

  • Altering the shape of the traffic island on Hawkestone Street so it extends around the entry to the southbound on-ramp. This will mean vehicles can only enter the State Highway 1 on-ramp from Hawkestone Street.
  • The traffic island will provide a dedicated on-ramp and westbound/Tinakori Road lane for southbound traffic off Hawkestone Street.
  • A new give way intersection on the on-ramp to make merging safer and more efficient;
  • raising the central median area next to the on-ramp on Hawkestone Street to create a traffic island and pedestrian refuge; and
  • A new pedestrian path across Hawkestone Street so it’s safer and easier to cross.

The coupon parks on Hawkestone Street will also be removed and replaced with one coupon carpark opposite the bus stop on Hawkestone Street. Other car parks are being investigated as potential sites on Tinakori Road.

Construction will begin in August and is expected to take around two to three weeks.

For more information, visit www.nzta.govt.nz/hawkestone

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