SH1 to manage return traffic through Otaki

Published: Thu 22 Oct 2009 04:11 PM
NZ Transport Agency Wellington Regional Office
22 October 2009
Labour Weekend trial on SH1 to manage return traffic through Otaki
The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) will be trialling initiatives to manage returning traffic through Otaki this Labour weekend in order to ease congestion that regularly builds on State Highway 1 at holiday periods.
On Monday (26 October) NZTA plans to close Mill Road to traffic heading east through the roundabout and limit access in and out of Arthur Street in order to give returning southbound travellers a steadier trip home should traffic delays occur.
NZTA State Highways Manager for Wellington, Rob Whight, says these measures, along with the closure of the southbound passing lane after Forrest Lakes Road, are expected to help ease holiday-related traffic delays that have become a common cause of frustration for road users on SH1.
“We appreciate that people don’t like being held up when they want to get home after a relaxing time away. The best way for us to address this is to try closing Mill Road to stop people cutting across southbound traffic on SH1 and stop people from turning right into or out of Arthur Street on the highway as this holds up the flow of traffic. By reducing the conflict between highway travellers and people make local trips we hope to improve people’s travel,” Mr Whight says.
If the trial is successful NZTA will look at using these initiatives again to alleviate holiday related traffic congestion.
Mr Whight says the restrictions will only be put in place once returning traffic starts to build and delays become evident. This means that staff will be monitoring the road on Monday in order to act quickly by firstly closing Mill Road to eastern traffic and then Arthur Street if delays persist in association with this side street.
People will still be able to access SH1 when Mill Road is closed by travelling along Dunstan Street and Waerenga Road. These roads will also provide access in and out of Arthur Street.
NZTA has been working with Kapiti Coast District Council, Otaki Community Board, NZ Police and the AA to address the problem of return journey congestion for some time.
“We appreciate the community’s concerns regarding their need to travel in and around Otaki. We have high hopes that we have a good solution that balances the community’s needs with the need to keep holiday makers moving steadily on their way home,” Mr Whight says.
Changes for northbound travellers are not currently required at Otaki as traffic heading away for holiday periods is spread across a bigger timeframe. This is in contrast with returning southbound traffic where people like to make the most of their breaks from home by waiting as long as possible before returning.

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