Gas leak stalls traffic for much of day
Long delays for commuters on State Highway 1 on Kapiti Coast for much of yesterday had the Transport Agency asking motorists heading north from Wellington to delay their departure.
A gas leak disrupted traffic on SH1 just north of Paekakariki, leading to delays of more than two hours for commuters.
By the middle of the evening, the backup had eased.
A valve at the Paekakariki North Mainline Valve Station developed a leak at 10am during maintenance.
Just before 6pm, Richard Hocken, chairman of the NZTA regional transport response team, said: ‘‘While the road is now fully open, it will take some time to clear the backlog. So our advice is still to delay travel if possible and stay in Wellington.
‘‘Another option may be to consider leaving cars in town and take the train.’’
When the leak was first discovered, both lanes of the highway between McKays Crossing and Paekakariki were closed, but police and contractors later opened one lane, with stop-go signs to allow traffic to move.
Traffic quickly built up and at 3pm, to ensure SH1 traffic could continue to flow, transport officials closed Paekakariki Hill Road to northbound traffic, from the Grays Rd intersection. That road reopened about 8pm.
Lanes in both directions of SH1 reopened about 5pm, with a speed limit of 30kmh.
Journalist Virginia Fallon left Porirua for Waikanae about 4pm and came to a complete halt at the Plimmerton junction of SH1. By shortly after 5pm, she had reached only as far as Pukerua Bay.
First Gas CEO Paul Goodeve said the gas line was a major provider of gas to Wellington.
Monitoring work continues at the site of the gas leak north of Paekakariki.