Motorway ramp signals will be turned off and speed limits that normally vary will be left at 100km/h while Auckland remains under level 3 restrictions.
The NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi Auckland operations manager Rua Pani said the easier settings reflected a 46 per cent drop in Auckland motorway traffic on Thursday, the first full day of level 3 restrictions, compared with Thursday last week.
The Auckland Harbour Bridge will also be left in its default setting of four lanes each way, rather than providing extra lanes to and from the city at peak times.
“Motorway ramp signals across the region will be turned off,” Pani said.
“The automated stop/go lights are designed to improve safety for merging traffic and improve traffic flow on the motorways, enabling better and more consistent journey times.
“The variable speed limits on SH16 between St Lukes and Rosebank and on SH20 between Maioro St and Dominion Rd will be left at 100km/h.
“The VSL system usually operates automatically during peak traffic periods, reducing the speed limit to improve safety while managing and smoothing traffic flows.”
Pani said the 46 per cent drop in motorway traffic on Thursday was similar to a 50 per cent drop last time the city was in level 3 in May.
“Motorway traffic volumes and the changes above will be monitored in real time and can be adjusted quickly if there is increased traffic demand,” Pani said.
“Regular planned night-time closures on the motorway network will continue under alert level 3, with maintenance crews working under strict health and safety protocols. For closures details, see www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/auckland.
“Under alert level 3, travel is restricted to minimise the risk of transmission and the spread of Covid-19. You can travel within your local area, for example going to work or school, shopping, or getting exercise. Public transport can continue to operate with strict health and safety requirements.
“If you must go out, Waka Kotahi advises motorists to drive carefully, be alert, be kind to other road users and keep to the speed limit.
“We know from lockdown earlier this year that more people were out exercising and getting some fresh air and we urge drivers to stay alert and take care around cyclists and pedestrians,” Pani said.
“People should maintain physical distancing when they’re out walking and cycling. However, pedestrians and cyclists are also much more vulnerable to injury than drivers in a crash. If you’re driving a vehicle it’s crucial to stay alert, slow down and give plenty of room when passing people on bikes or on foot.
“Also when driving through roadwork sites, be patient and respectful and look out for the workers’ safety and wellbeing.”