New Wellington Bypass? What a joke!

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 19-Feb-2007 16:56

After spending yet more time stuck in traffic I'd love somebody from Transit NZ to explain why it now takes longer to get across town than it used to? Saying it's a settling in period just doesn't do it for me, there are serious flaws in the whole traffic plan which are causing bottlenecks.

* Why is Northbound traffic on Willis St and Taranaki St limited to turning into the bypass from the left lane only? Willis/Vivian and Tarakani/Vivian used to be 2 left turning lanes with the right lane a turn/straight thru. This worked fine before, why change it now?

* Pedestrians crossing the bypass at Taranaki St have their green cross light on the same phase as turning traffic from Taranki onto the bypass. The result being numerous near misses as (frustrated) motorists tear out of the lights to realise that pedestrians are crossing. Due to the large number of pedestrians who also use this crossing in the afternoon it's not uncommon to sit at lights when they do change to green and then watch 2 or 3 cars go through before the lights turn red. This is probably the prime cause of the usual afternoon bottleneck all the way up Taranaki St past Massey University that simply didn't occur as often prior to the bypass. The same problem also occurs on Willis St. Why can't pedestrians have their own cross phase?

The time it takes me to get from the John St lights to the Terrace Tunnel is now approximately 4 mins on average longer than before the bypass. I was never somebody who was anti the bypass but it certainly seems like a bit of a lemon if it's making the traffic worse not better..

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Comment by juha, on 19-Feb-2007 17:55

A four minute delay... you're complaining about that?!?!?

And surely it should be "near hits" as a miss is a miss?

Comment by bcourtney, on 19-Feb-2007 18:26

no, no, I am sure he means that the already long delay is now 4 minutes even longer than before the bypass. The bypass is only half open (northbound) however when the southbound section opens I doubt it will have any effect on evening rush hour traffic out of the city.

Tonight was ridiculous heading up Taranaki St

Comment by nathan, on 19-Feb-2007 18:36

Willis/Vivian does have 2 left lanes that turn onto the bypass, as well as a right hand land that is straight ahead

I do agree that it seems ridiculous, lets hope things clear up once all the roadworks is complete

Author's note by sbiddle, on 19-Feb-2007 19:56

"Willis/Vivian does have 2 left lanes that turn onto the bypass, as well as a right hand land that is straight ahead"

Willis/Vivian doesn't go onto the bypass. That interesection used to take you to the Tunnel and as you said had two left lanes + the one right lane. The new Willis/Bypass intersection has two lanes, one being a left turn and the other straight through.

I've also been told by an Aucklander that I have no right to complain at all about traffic in Wgtn because it's a million times worse up there! :-)

Comment by freitasm, on 19-Feb-2007 22:33

Flight Wellington to Auckland: 45 minutes
Ca ride Auckland airport to town: 60 minutes

Horrible traffic here in Auckland.

Seriously though, having had the chance to drive in Wellington this last weekend, it is incredible that on a Sunday afternoon the traffic to reach the bypass is worse than when it was just a drive through Vivian St to the top of the motorway. Too many lights, and not in sync at all.

Crap job!


Author's note by sbiddle, on 20-Feb-2007 06:22

On the National Radio 6am news & in Stuff that Stagecoach are now complaining about the delays as well and that it's delaying bus services.

Bring back the old route..

Author's note by sbiddle, on 20-Feb-2007 06:48

The bus complaints do raise another issue though - the main bottlenecks in the afternoon are traffic banked up from Taranaki St all the way back to the John St/Adelaide Rd lights and Adelaide Rd banked all the way from the Basin Reserve to the John St/Adelaide Rd lights. Adelaide Rd has a bus lane heading North (into town) that is only used during the morning and one heading South that is only used in the evening.

Why is the bus lane into town not being used in the afternoon when the serious congestion is actually occuring? Is this solution so obvious no highly paid traffic planner has thought of it?

Comment by allan, on 20-Feb-2007 09:28

And not only that, what's with altering the Kent Tce southbound lanes as they enter the Basin Reserve so that only the right-hand lane now goes around the basin instead of two lanes. Morning traffic now regularly has the right-hand lane backed up to Courtney Place while the other two lanes are flowing freely.

freitasm's comment about travel from Auckland airport reminded me of when I was regularly trvelling to Sydney a few years ago.

Redeye flight to Sydney: 3 hours
Taxi to North Sydney: 1.5 hours.

Then I discovered there was a train from the airport - time to North Sydney reduced to 25 mins.

Comment by doodle, on 4-Mar-2007 00:08

The bypass was supposed to be a motorway with 2 lanes each way onramps and offramps, initially constructed as a trench and then covered like a tunnel allowing the heritage buildings and whatever to be temporarily moved during construction then placed back in their original location as well as new buildings. Also there is supposed to be two terrace tunnels so 3 lanes both north and south with ghuznee street offramp and vivian street onramp lane gain/ exit only lanes so there are then 2 lanes each way going to the bypass.

Comment by gristle, on 17-Mar-2007 11:52

What was the point of putting in the cutting if they did not run other roads over the top? Complete waste of time. The cutting should run further, right to Taranaki street. Regarding the pedestrian crossings as they are now, why not construct subways? This whole project stinks of cost cutting.

Comment by wellygirl, on 26-Mar-2007 10:19

solution to all traffic problems in wellington: build an underground rail system. the london underground works fine. wellington railway station to the airport in 10 minutes. genius.

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Steve Biddle
New Zealand

I'm an engineer who loves building solutions to solve problems.

I also love sharing my views and analysis of the tech world on this blog, along with the odd story about aviation and the travel industry.

My interests and skillset include:

*VoIP (Voice over IP). I work with various brands of hardware and PBX's on a daily basis
  -Asterisk (incl PiaF, FreePBX, Elastix)

  -xDSL deployments

*Structured cabling
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  -Phone & Data

*Computer networking
  -Mikrotik hardware
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*CCTV solutions
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I'm an #avgeek who loves to travel the world (preferably in seat 1A) and stay in nice hotels.

+My views do no represent my employer. I'm sure they'll be happy to give their own if you ask them.

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