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The NZ Transport Agency and Hutt City Council are moving into the next phase of a trial to find ways to improve traffic flows at the Melling intersections of State Highway 2. This means changes to the traffic light phasing for drivers leaving Harbour View during the peak times this week until Friday 24 August.
The Melling interchange is a busy, complicated intersection where local roads join State Highway 2. The majority of motorists using the intersection are travelling along the state highway and the challenge is to keep traffic moving on the State Highway in peak times and reduce journey times for commuters and freight movements, without significantly disadvantaging people using local roads.
The NZTA and Hutt City Council are working together to test changes to traffic lights and lane markings to monitor the effects on reducing this congestion.
From Monday 6 to Friday 10 August, changes were made to the traffic signal phasing and lane markings at Harbour View Road. Changes were also made to traffic light cycles at Tirohanga Road.
NZTA State Highway Wellington Operations Manager Mark Owen said the combination of changes had disadvantaged drivers leaving Harbour View in the morning rush hour.
“Harbour View residents provided some useful feedback about the trial, we listened and as a result the lane markings will revert back to their original formation. We are grateful that people took the time to give NZTA and Hutt City Council constructive feedback to confirm what the localised impacts were and what has and hasn't worked.
“We are also keen to hear from some of the 34,000 drivers who travel on SH2 through Melling intersection about the effect of the trials on their peak time journeys so that we can factor their feedback into our decision making,” said Mark Owen.
NZTA and HCC reviewed the first phase of the trial on 10 August and are now ready to move onto the next phase.
The next phase will involve changing the lane markings at Harbour View Road back to their original layout. Staff monitored the intersection during the first phase of the trial and noticed that the new left turn lane for drivers leaving Harbour View Road wasn’t utilised as much as hoped. The creation of the new left lane did not influence drivers leaving Harbour View Road to take the left turn and then take a right turn at Block Road for trips to the train station and Lower Hutt, rather than driving straight on. Over the next week, we will therefore be working on reverting the lane markings back to their old layout.
It will also involve a change to the traffic signal phasing at Harbour View Road from 20 to 24 August at the peak times of 6:45am to 8:30am and 4:30 to 5:45pm. Double signal cycling was previously tested at Harbour View Road, which meant that Harbour View traffic got a green light once every two cycles. The next step is to trial two green lights out of three cycles in peak times. This will work better with the original lane markings.
“This will still cause minor delays to Harbour View residents but they won’t be waiting as long for a green light as they were during the previous trial,” says Mark Owen.
The long-term the plan is to look at improving the layout of the whole intersection including the layout of lanes at the Melling Link approach and widening the Harbour View Road layout. NZTA and HCC will seek feedback from the community before progressing with these improvements.
Every day 34,000 vehicles travel on SH2 through the Melling intersection. In addition, there are 24,300 vehicles every day using Melling Link and 2,100 vehicles every day at Harbour View Road.