Waka Kotahi apologises after motorway lane layout changes cause traffic chaos
Waka Kotahi has apologised after lane layout changes along Auckland’s Northwestern Motorway caused major delays and a multi-vehicle car crash this morning. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Transport officials have apologised after lane layout changes on Auckland’s Northwestern Motorway caused extensive delays for motorists during Monday’s morning commute with traffic backed up nearly 20km to Westgate.
And the Automobile Association says Waka Kotahi NZTA should have been more proactive in communicating the lane changes, which could have minimised delays for the city’s beleaguered road users.
The layout changes along the Northwestern Motorway had motorists stumped this morning, causing long queues and a multi-vehicle car crash.
In a statement this afternoon, Waka Kotahi apologised to affected motorists and said it was “monitoring the situation”, while encouraging motorists to “follow the signs and drive with caution”.
It claimed “signage and information was shared in advance of the works” and said extra signage was put up during peak hour traffic this afternoon.
AA spokesman for Auckland traffic congestion Martin Glynn said Waka Kotahi should have better communicated the changes.
“I would have expected them to have put out more proactive communication about it,” Glynn said.
“It wouldn’t have avoided all of that but it could have minimised it.”
In order to make the left lane an exit-only lane to Newton Rd, the eastbound lanes between St Lukes and Newton Rds were rearranged, Waka Kotahi earlier informed motorists.
It reported later that between St Lukes Rd and Newton Rd, the right eastbound lanes were blocked by a car that had flipped on to its side. Crashed vehicles were left straddling lanes and stopped traffic in other lanes.
In order to manage the new lane configuration, drivers were instructed to merge right for all other destinations.
“Take extra care this morning as motorists adjust to the new lane layout.”
About 7.30am, traffic queues spanned nearly 20km, right back to Westgate.
Google Maps indicated motorists were facing a 30-minute delay due to congestion.
SH16 NEW LANE LAYOUT – 6:15AM
Eastbound lanes between St Lukes Rd and Newton Rd have been realigned, with the left lane now an exit-only lane to Newton Rd. Merge right for other destinations and take extra care this morning as motorists adjust to the new lane layout. ^TP pic.twitter.com/9bOcLxTKqc
— Waka Kotahi NZTA Auckland & Northland (@WakaKotahiAkNth) March 26, 2023
The changes mean there are now only four lanes after the Newton Rd exit.
Waka Kotahi said the left city-bound lane now heads to State Highway 1 northbound, the middle-left to Nelson St, middle-right to SH1 southbound, and the right continues on to SH16 to the Port.