As a new working week begins, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency reminds motorists that the Auckland Harbour Bridge is only operating at 75% capacity with two lanes closed.
People are advised to avoid using the bridge if possible, travel during off peak hours, use the Western Ring Route on SH16 an dSH18 or leave their vehicles at home and take public transport to reduce congestion and delays on the motorways.
“Waka Kotahi has been very clear since a truck damaged the bridge superstructure in high winds last Friday that the bridge will remain compromised for some weeks until a permanent repair can be made,” says Waka Kotahi General Manger Transport Services Brett Gliddon.
“Waka Kotahi urges people to change their travel patterns and use public transport.
Auckland Transport says there are plenty of seats on scheduled bus services from the North Shore and that travelling by bus on the Northern Busway can be quicker than by car on the motorway.
At the start of last week, the number of vehicles crossing the bridge dropped by up to 50% compared to the previous week, but as the week went on and two lanes reopened the traffic volumes were only about 22% less than the previous week.
“We are asking motorists to avoid using the bridge, not just to reduce congestion and delays. The bridge and the clip ons are safe to use, but our ability to change the lanes configuration for peak time traffic is constrained and there is a heightened risk if there is a minor crash or breakdown on the bridge. Any disruption on the bridge, even for a short time, has a swift knock on effect across the motorway network and local city streets.”
Waka Kotahi would like to recognise the ongoing support of the freight industry in using the Western Ring Road during the recovery of the bridge. No overweight or over-dimension vehicles are currently allowed on the harbour bridge and Waka Kotahi asks that heavy vehicles use the Western Ring Route as an alternative route to help reduce congestion over the bridge until the permanent solution is installed.
The Waka Kotahi operations team and Auckland Transport are continuing to provide the latest real time travel information to help people make informed travel decisions and minimise delays for customers. Auckland Transport is monitoring and making changes on local roads and intersections to improve bus travel times.
A bus priority lane will be implemented on the SH1 northbound motorway for buses travelling during peak times. Motorway signage will show that the left-hand lane is prioritised for buses.
Drivers are asked to be careful not to block intersections and let buses through to the motorway. This will allow traffic in the bus lane to keep flowing smoothly and improve bus journey reliability and travel times for customers.
Work is under way on designing and fabricating a 22.7 metre strut that will be a permanent load-bearing fix for the bridge. However it will be weeks before the bridge is restored to full operation with 8 lanes open to traffic.
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