The NZ Transport Agency and the Kāpiti Coast District Council are advising that Paekākāriki Hill Road will be temporarily closed to through traffic on Friday 18 January between 2pm and 7pm, and Friday 25 January between 3pm and 7pm.
These trial closures follow four other trial closures in November and December 2018 aimed at testing its effectiveness in improving safety and journey times.
“The trial closures significantly improved journey times by between three and 25 minutes for nearly half of road users, as well as successfully reducing safety risks,” Transport Agency Regional Systems Manager Mark Owen says.
“The results of the trials so far show that 3344 vehicles experienced much shorter journeys on State Highway 1 between Plimmerton and Mackays Crossing on average, during the trial closures.”
The much shorter journeys of between 10 and 25 minutes shorter were mostly experienced by road users travelling north along State Highway 1 between Plimmerton and Mackays Crossing, between 5pm and 6pm.
50 per cent of road users experienced no significant change to their journey times, while only five per cent experienced longer journey times. These were road users who would normally use Paekākāriki Hill Road from Pauatahanui as an alternative route.
“The extra traffic using Paekākāriki Hill Road at peak times are at a higher risk of accidents, both on the steep, winding road and when merging with onto State Highway 1 at Paekākāriki,” Mr Owen says.
“So we’re pleased that, as a result of the trial closures, around 760 vehicles who regularly use the less-safe Paekākāriki Hill Road took other routes instead, thereby limiting the disruption during high traffic flows on State Highway 1.”
Kāpiti Coast District Council Infrastructure Services Group Manager Sean Mallon says the outcomes of the trial closures for both journey times and safety are promising.
“However we will assess the outcomes of the next two closures and conduct surveys to gain deeper insights from road users, Paekākāriki Hill Road residents and businesses to help guide us in decisions on any future closures.”
Paekākāriki Hill Road residents and others working or visiting properties on the road will be able to enter from the State Highway 1 at Paekākāriki and Pauatahanui.
However, those leaving a property on Paekākāriki Hill Road will not be able to exit onto State Highway 1 at Paekākāriki during the temporary closure and should use an alternate route such as Grays Road at Pauatahanui.
Emergency services will have full access to Paekākāriki Hill Road at all times and if there is an emergency on the highway, the closure will be lifted so that the road can be used as a detour.
State Highway 1 out of Wellington is expected to be busier than usual on Friday 18 January due to Wellington Anniversary holiday traffic, particularly northbound through to Ōtaki between 9am and 7.30pm.
Please allow extra time for your journey, and plan ahead to stay safe.
Take a look at the Transport Agency’s holiday journeys tool for dates and times where traffic is predicted to be heaviest when departing the Wellington region: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic-and-travel-information/journey-planner/holidayjourneys/wellington-anniversary-holiday-journey-2019/(external link)
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