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Smart Motorways Field Trip Update

Key Technology Questions
New Zealand Roads (Smart Motorways)

During the second and final Smart Motorways field trip you will see the progress that has been made over the last six months. You will discover more about how this smart motorway has been designed and how it will help Wellington.

Constructing New Zealand’s first smart motorway

To make a motorway ‘smart’ construction, technology and driver education are needed. 

What can you remember from the first field trip about how a Smart Motorway works?

Construction Overview

The main elements of the smart motorway construction are: 

  • Removing and replacing the central median barrier 
  • Moving an old bridge
  • Building gantries for signs
  • Widening the SH2 off-ramp 
  • Building an emergency on-ramp for emergency services.

By making small changes to the motorway, another northbound lane can be created. This will increase the capacity of the motorway, which means there’s more space, so congestion will be reduced. 

Clever methods have been used to find space for this new lane. Such as: 

  • A small grass verge will be used
  • An unused edge of the bridge at Kaiwharawhara will become part of the new lane
  • Replacing the existing gravel-filled median barrier with a narrower and safer concrete barrier will add an extra 3.5 to 4 metres of valuable road width.

Progress on site since the first field trip in August 2015

When you visit the Smart Motorway construction site in March 2016 you will notice that the following work has been completed in the six months since the first field trip.

  • The unused off-ramp at Kaiwharawhara has been pushed closer to the highway and ‘stitched’ to the Thorndon Overbridge with a seam of strengthened concrete. The bridge has been re-surfaced and will become part of the new northbound lane.
  • Eight new overhead gantries have been installed 
  • Over 1500m of central median barrier has been replaced
  • Street lights are being replaced with more natural, lower energy LED bulbs and 14 new lamp posts have been installed at the Ngauranga end of the site. 

NZTA's updates and more about the completed Smart Motorway: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/wellington-northern-corridor/smart-motorway/


Along with the technology being used to create the Smart Motorway other tools are also being developed. You can check out a newly launched mobile friendly website called DriveLive Smart Capital to provide up-to-the-minute journey times for key routes within the Wellington region. The information is updated every five minutes. http://drivelive.nz/smartcapital

During the second field trip you will be able to visit the construction site. You will meet experts to find out more about the design of the Smart Motorway and the technology that transforms an ordinary motorway into a Smart Motorway. You’ll also see how careful research has helped design the campaign to develop smart drivers. See you on site 1-3 March 2016.


Audio Māori keywords: 

What types of technology can you use to help you travel to different places and how does this help you and your community?

Clever ways of using the current motorway such as moving the bridge at Kaiwharawhara has helped make the smart motorway possible. How do you think this bridge was lifted and moved? Image: NZTA.

The old central median barrier has been removed and replaced with a narrower concrete barrier. Why do you think this was done?

During the first Smart Motorways field trip you saw work being done on the central median barrier. What has been done on site since this first field trip? Image: NZTA.

Eight new gantries have been completed since the first field trip. What will these gantries be used for? Image: NZTA.

A gantry is installed during a road closure. Why do you think a lot of work is done at night time? Image: NZTA.

Key Technology Questions
New Zealand Roads (Smart Motorways)