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Stay sharp on the motorway as construction ramps up

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Stay sharp on the motorway, the Transport Agency is urging drivers, as work on the smart motorway project between Ngauranga and Aotea Quay goes up a gear.

Wellington highways manager Rod James says after two months of work, drivers will notice construction around the SH1/2 Ngauranga Interchange ramping up. 

This means the work site will be extended by more than half a kilometre to prepare for the removal of the existing barriers, and the lowered speed limit will also be extended.

“Work so far has been relatively low-key, but this will change as crews enter a new phase of work. This means it’s more important than ever that drivers watch their speeds and keep the safety of workers and other motorists at the front of their minds.”

One of only two concrete barrier extruding machines in New Zealand arrives on site this week. On Sunday night, the machine starts its work and will continue between 9pm and 4am, Sunday to Thursday for the next two weeks. The machine will use six trucks to extrude up to 50 metres of barrier each night.

In preparation for the barrier removal work to progress south, another 600 metres of southbound lanes will be remarked, narrowed and moved away from the centre of the road. Temporary concrete barriers will be laid either side of the central barrier next week, and the speed limits will be extended to cover the new construction area.

“The temporary 70km/h speed limits are lower than drivers are used to on the motorway, but they are in place for a good reason,” says Mr James.

 “Sticking to the reduced speed limit is an important part of protecting the people working on the site, as well as for the safety of road users moving through the narrowed lanes and negotiating the shortened merging area on the motorway.”

Senior Sergeant Richard Hocken, Road Policing Response Manager, is also encouraging motorists to be mindful of the safety of those working in the area as well as their own.

"Given this is a construction area it is important we give everyone a little extra space to manoeuvre while the upgrade is taking place. We'll have extra staff on hand to remind motorists to slow down for the safety of everyone," said Sergeant Hocken.

Mr James says later this month, as the barrier removal work moves further south down the motorway where there’s more space, crews will be on site 24 hours a day for over a year. As well as seeing people working in the central median zone, road users will notice construction vehicles entering and exiting the area, although not during rush hour.

“This increased activity will make the work site’s inherent safety risks more obvious and, we hope, further encourage drivers to watch their speeds.

“We thank motorists for their patience, and for sticking to the speed limits.”

The Ngauranga to Aotea upgrade aims to reduce congestion, make journey times more reliable, and improve safety on the busiest section of road in the Wellington region. It will result in New Zealand’s first ever ‘smart motorway’.

Making the motorway flow more smoothly will also benefit people using other roads in the area. This is because fewer drivers will use these routes to avoid congestion on the motorway. Public transport journeys will also benefit with more reliable journey times through this section.

Wellington’s smart motorway is due to be operational in April 2016.

For construction updates and more information about the smart motorway, visit nzta.govt.nz/smartmotorway(external link)

For more information please contact:

Anthony Frith
Media Manager - Central

T: 04 894 5251
M: 027 213 7617
E: anthony.frith@nzta.govt.nz

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