NZTA Waka Kotahi and Auckland Transport will be implementing a bus priority system before rush hour this evening as repair work continues on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
NZTA said the northbound busway system aimed to provide more reliable journeys for customers. It would be in place until the bridge is fully operational again, which could be up to six weeks away.
Buses will access the on-ramp towards the north on Fanshawe Street in the CBD through a new priority lane, which will bypass queuing traffic and then merge into general traffic near the bridge.
The Curran Street northbound on-ramp onto State Highway 1 is closed to all traffic to improve the safety of the merge point.
The bridge remains at half capacity after two trucks were blown over by high winds while crossing the harbour Friday morning, bending a load-bearing strut and closing four of the bridge’s middle lanes.
NZTA is continuing to urge people to work from home or use public transport to ease congestion. It also advised motorists to use the Western Ring Route as an alternative, via State Highway 20, State Highway 16 and State Highway 18.
At midday, traffic had eased slightly heading in from the North Shore to the CBD. But there was still some delay as commuters had to merge from three lanes to the two clip-on lanes on the bridge open in each direction.
This morning, some North Shore residents faced hours-long commutes to work, with lines to the bridge stretching back about three kilometres to the on-ramps from suburbs around the bridge. By 8am, it was about twice that.
“Today’s congestion has been as we expected and shows the importance of people changing their usual travel patterns,” Waka Kotahi senior journey manager Neil Walker said.
“Drivers need to take extra care and look out for merging buses on their right-hand side.”
The Northern Busway will be operating and buses will use the clip-on lanes.
Walker said there is no risk to the structural integrity or overall safety of the bridge, and all clip-on lanes are safe to use.
Nine NZTA engineers are working to remove and replace the 23-metre steel strut.