News from NZ Transport Agency
Quick progress building the new roundabout at the intersection of State Highway 1 and Otaihanga Road means it should be opened to two lane capacity this Friday for peak hour traffic.
Wellington highways manager Rod James says that having two lanes open for peak hour traffic will be a welcome relief for motorists who have shown commendable patience in recent weeks during significant delays arising from the temporary one-lane configuration.
The two-lane operation will operate in the ‘peak direction’, that is, in the direction that peak hour traffic is travelling (eg southbound lanes during the morning and northbound lanes during the early evening)
Mr James says contractors have expedited work to enable the two lane peak hour operation to be introduced six weeks ahead of schedule. The roundabout will be returned to single lane operation outside of peak hours.
“This is an excellent result and the troops deserve a big pat on the back for their hard slog.
“We really appreciate motorists bearing with us in recent week, and we recognise how frustrating these delays have been.”
“Having the roundabout open to just one lane was a necessary evil that enabled the crews to ramp up their work and have it opened earlier than expected to two lanes during peak hour.
“We know that there has been significant disruption, and we’d like to thank every single motorist who hung in there while we worked to get it to this point. People have understood how important these safety improvements are, and have been incredibly understanding and patient.
“Teams have been working weekends and nights to make this happen, and we have allocated extra resources to the job to get it done.”
Mr James says the roundabout will help to improve safety by reducing the risk of severe collisions at this busy intersection.
He says that while having a two lane roundabout will improve traffic flow during peak hour, some delays are likely as motorists getting used to the new layout, and also from normal peak hour traffic. He urges motorists to pay close attention to signage at all times, and to be aware that the two lane operation is only during peak hour.
Mr James stresses that the project is not finished yet, and is expected to be completed before Easter. The remaining work will require single lane operation outside of peak hours and stop-go traffic control, and this will cause some further delays, although crews will aim to do this work outside of rush hour to keep disruption to a minimum.
Mr James says the Transport Agency has run advertising urging drivers to use their indicators at the roundabout.
“We’ve noticed that drivers have responded well to this advice, and we urge people to keep up the good work – follow the road code, give way to right, indicate and observer advertised speed limits to keep traffic flowing.