Kapiti passing lanes blocked this weekend

Last updated 16:13 04/01/2013

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The New Zealand Transport Agency is warning of traffic delays on the Kapiti Coast this weekend as it blocks passing lanes - to improve traffic flow.

With holiday makers returning home after the Christmas and New Year break a build-up was expected along the Kapiti Coast, NZTA regional operations manager Mark Owen said.

''This means that there's likely to be queuing, and we ask that people allow for delays in their travel plans.''

During peak times, NZTA would be closing State Highway 1 passing lanes north of Otaki.

The closure of the passing lanes, which was supported by the police, was for safety and to improve traffic flow, he said.

''Passing lanes are only effective when traffic is flowing freely. When roads are chocka-block, using passing lanes is like having two queues for the same bank teller," Mr Owen said.

''During busy holiday periods, vehicles tend to get backed up by the heavy traffic volumes, rather than vehicles travelling too slowly up ahead.

''In heavy traffic, people may try to jump the queue then attempt to merge back into the traffic jam. This causes people to brake suddenly, which can upset the gradual but steady traffic flow, and cause nose-to-tail crashes.

''That's the reason the passing lanes are closed when the roads are at capacity - more vehicles get through per hour due to the smoother flow of traffic, while also improving safety."

NZTA and police would monitor congestion through Otaki, and if required, may divert traffic to improve traffic flow.

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- The Dominion Post

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