The NZ Transport Agency is advising motorists that essential work on the Victoria Park Tunnel project is likely to cause delays for those leaving central Auckland this weekend (18-21 February).
The works will affect the Fanshawe Street on-ramp - which provides access to the Northern Motorway (State Highway 1) and the Auckland Harbour Bridge – and a section of the northbound lanes of the motorway through central Auckland.
The northbound lanes of the motorway (SH1) – from the Nelson Street on-ramp to the Curran Street on-ramp just before the bridge – will be closed from midnight Friday until 6.30am on Saturday, and again from midnight Sunday until 5am on Monday. Both of the overnight closures include the Wellington Street on-ramp, the northbound Port-to-SH1 link, and the northbound connection between the Northwestern Motorway [SH16] and SH1.
The Fanshawe Street on ramp will be closed to all traffic, including buses, throughout the weekend from midnight on Friday until 5am the following Monday. Access to the CBD for traffic travelling south from the bridge will not be affected.
Drivers leaving the CBD to go north are advised to use the Curran Street motorway on-ramp, accessed from Jervois Road in Ponsonby.
The NZTA’s State Highway’s Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker, says he regrets the weekend disruption to travellers but the closures are necessary for the long-term improvements to traffic through the busiest section of the Auckland motorway network.
“The Fanshawe Street on-ramp is being totally rebuilt. When the Victoria Park Tunnel project is completed in 2012, three lanes of northbound traffic will surface from the tunnel at the on-ramp and merge with traffic coming from the CBD,” says Mr Parker. “The re-build is needed to enable the merge to happen safely and smoothly.”
Mr Parker says drivers will need to take care because there will be a slight change in the configuration of lanes at the on-ramp and coming off the Victoria Park Viaduct after next weekend’s work.
“This will be the first of many traffic shifts on the motorway through St Marys Bay as work is completed in one area and moves to another.”
Mr Parker says by early April all work on the sides of the motorway through St Marys Bay will be completed and construction will have moved to the middle.
The Victoria Park Tunnel is one of seven roads of national significance identified by the Government as essential to New Zealand’s economic prosperity. It will be the first completed, in mid-2012. The motorway through St Marys Bay is being widened by one lane in each direction. This, together with the tunnel for three lanes of northbound traffic and reconfiguration of the existing viaduct for four southbound lanes, will remove the last remaining bottleneck on the motorway network through central Auckland.