The NZ Transport Agency will defer the opening the Wellington Street motorway on ramp in central Auckland until mid-December to allow Auckland Transport (AT) to make necessary safety improvements.
The on ramp was closed in late August for construction work on the approach to the Victoria Park Tunnel and was due to re-open next Wednesday morning.
Although work to rebuild the on ramp has been completed, it will now open on 14 December. This will allow Auckland Transport to install a pedestrian crossing across the ramp, primarily for safety of children from the nearby Freemans Bay School.
Although originally planned under the old Auckland City Council, the crossing had yet to be built when Auckland Transport assumed responsibility for the region’s roads on November 1.
State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker, says the NZTA is happy to agree to the Auckland Transport request because the crossing will resolve long-time concerns for the safety of children who walk between the CBD and the school.
“Children have been known to weave among moving vehicles to cross the on ramp,” Mr Parker says. “It makes sense for us to work with Auckland Transport to get this potentially dangerous situation fixed before traffic starts using the on ramp again.”
He says the signalised pedestrian crossing can only be installed with the on ramp closed. The Victoria Park Tunnel project will therefore leave the closure in place until Auckland Transport has completed the task.
Mr Parker says the three-month closure of the Wellington Street on ramp has gone very smoothly and he thanks drivers for their cooperation. “The local road network appears to have coped extremely well with the additional traffic diverted from Wellington Street and some would say the traffic flows on the motorway have even improved.
“It could not have been achieved without the understanding and patience of the Auckland public, particularly the many North Shore people who used the on ramp as a quick exit from the CBD during the afternoon peak.
“We are now asking them to be patient for two more weeks while Auckland Transport installs this essential crossing.”
The extension means the current right-turn bans at the intersection of Beaumont St and Fanshawe Street will remain in place for another two weeks.