Wellington Urban Motorway to close while it gets smarter

The motorway is closing – but don’t worry, it was smooth sailing last time it happened.

The NZ Transport Agency advises motorists that State Highway 1 between Ngauranga and Thorndon will be closed four times overnight during two weekends in November as part of the smart motorway development in Wellington.

The closures are planned for overnight on Saturday 14, Sunday 15, and Saturday 28, Sunday 29 November. During each closure, all lanes in both directions between Ngauranga and Thorndon will be closed. All closures begin at 10pm and the motorway re-opens at 7am on each Sunday morning and 5.30am on each Monday morning.

Wellington Highway Manager, Neil Walker says, “Detours will be in place and everyone will be able to get where they want to go at all times, although people should allow more time for their journeys during these times. The public were really understanding last time, and we’re grateful to everyone for bearing with us while we get this important work done.”

“We’re doing everything we can to minimise disruption, which is why we’re doing it in the middle of the night during the weekend.”

“During the closures, we’ll erect four new overhead gantries, remove a redundant one, and install road sensors and signs. We’re also taking the opportunity to carry out other work, including installing cabling and new street lights, which means we won’t have to affect daytime travellers as much,” said Mr Walker.

The last motorway closures took place in August, and went like clockwork.

The first weekend closure involves installing one cross-motorway steel lattice (truss) and two tubular (portal) gantries, as well as removing the redundant truss gantry near Placemakers. The legs of the truss gantries will be installed under two-lane closures overnight on Thursday 12 November.

Contingency dates are set for 5 and 6 December.


For northbound traffic:

  • vehicles coming from the airport area, and the Basin Reserve are encouraged to detour along waterfront routes leading to the Hutt Road and then re-join State Highway 1 or State Highway 2 at Ngauranga.
  • after the Terrace Tunnel, all vehicles will be diverted onto the Tinakori off-ramp, along Tinakori Road, the Hutt Road to re-join State Highway 1 or State Highway 2 at Ngauranga.

For Southbound traffic

  • will be diverted from State Highway 1 or State Highway 2 at Ngauranga and travel along the Hutt Road, entering the city at various points or re-joining State Highway 1 at the Hawkestone St on-ramp.

Fast facts

Number of gantries being installed during the four closures

Four: two cross-motorway truss gantries that hold the electronic lane control and message signs and two tubular (portal) gantries that hold the green locations signs. These portal gantries cross half the motorway each.

Weight of cross-motorway gantry with signs attached

35 tonnes

Length of cross-motorway gantry

44 metres

Height of lift

6 metres


350 tonne crane – the region’s largest