More help on Christchurch’s Northern Motorway: incidents cleared swiftly during peak hours over winter

A crash or breakdown on the northern motorway or its key feeder roads is never that helpful for anyone, let alone a person trying to get home or to work as planned in heavy traffic.

For Christchurch’s northern commuters and the drivers who regularly use the highway and local roads north of the city between Johns Road/ Belfast and Pineacres, help just moved much closer to hand for the winter and spring months.

A six-month trial started early in June for the peak commuting hours: 6-9am and 4-6pm, weekdays. “The aim is to improve the response times to attend any incidents or crashes on the northern motorway. This is so everyone using the road can get home or to their destinations with as little delay as possible,” said Jim Harland, NZ Transport Agency Regional Director, Southern.

“This initiative came out of the Northern Corridor Incident Management Plan,” he said.

The Northern Corridor Group is made up of representatives of the Transport Agency and the Transport Operations Centres, Waimakariri District Council, Christchurch City Council, Fire Service, Police, St Johns, and contractors.

“If there is an incident on the Northern Corridor at peak times, this can result in major congestion and delays, which has a run-on effect on businesses and people’s lives,” said Jim Harland. “We often have extra highway crews available over long weekends on key state highways to keep major routes as free-flowing as possible. This trial is designed to assess if there is value in having a crew and towing capacity available over the colder months for the northern route into and out of Christchurch, which is congested at peak hours.”

The advantages of having the contracting crew and towing vehicles handy and stationed at Ohoka Road over the peaks hours include:

• Faster response times to attend incidents or crashes
• Quicker resolution of the cause of the hold-up
• Better co-ordination with Emergency Services / the Transport Operations Centres
• Improved traveller communication from the Transport Operations Centres through their networks
• Ensures a safer environment for road users
• Benefits anyone who is on the highway or the local roads managed by the councils leading onto and off the highways – one network approach
• Improved journey time reliability and a more predictable journey
• Fast and accurate customer information.

The Fulton Hogan contracting crew will also collect information while on site and share that with the Traffic Operations Centres – for example:
• The location of the response crew
• Weather and road conditions (for example, if there are any patches of gritted road or black ice)
• Traffic flows every 30 minutes – heavy, medium or light
• Driver behaviour observations every 30 minutes.