There's a lot being done behind the scenes, on the human and IT front, in order to look after Transmission Gully motorists.
Ventia Senior Project Manager Anthony Green, one of the guest speakers at an Electra Business Breakfast held today at the Southward Car Museum on the Kāpiti Coast, gave some insights.
Green said there was an operations centre at Pāuatahanui, where Ventia manages any road closure due to safety or maintenance, which forms part of an incident response team that manages any incidents including breakdowns, accidents or large events such as natural disasters.
The incident response team can attend up to 25 incidents in a single day.
"The team can be seen out on Transmission Gully every day.
"We carry out routine checks every two hours, as a minimum, but lately with the fog and rain, we've been out there every half-hour doing checks up and down the road.
"Our incident response team uses quite sophisticated technology.
"There are radars spaced all the way along the motorway that help us to find stopped vehicles, debris, and wrong-way vehicles in order to alert police.
"They [radars] monitor the safe travel and they work on a 500m radius.
"It's one of the first roads in the Southern Hemisphere to have this technology.
"We're working through a bit of commissioning, but they're going to be a fantastic game changer for the road.
"They alert us back in the operations room, where we operate the pan-tilt-zoom cameras.
"The operations room is operated 24/7 and we work closely with the incident response team from Wellington operations centre, with FENZ, police and other emergency services."
Since the motorway opened, the majority of incidents have been stopped vehicles and picking up debris.
"We have noticed, over the last few weeks, there are a lot more breakdowns happening. Whether that's due to current weather conditions, we're not 100 per cent sure, but as the statistics come out, we will know more about what is happening out there on the road.
"We've had an electric vehicle, the same electric vehicle, break down on the road several times already."
Three sections of the wire rope barrier had been repaired so far.
"We were able to repair all three sections, within about a four-hour period, at different parts of the motorway."
A weather station located top of the Wainui Saddle, which is 250m above sea level, was proving its worth.
"It picks up high winds, heavy rainfall and fog.
"This information is monitored by MetService 24/7.
"So we get real-time updates about what is happening out on that road, and are then able to use the electronic billboards and notify the motorists about what is going on."
Green said "it's pretty wild up there at times" with high winds, heavy fog and rain.
"When you're in the fog or in the rain, the two-second rule needs to be extended to four seconds.
"And dipping your headlights in fog or rain will actually improve your visibility, not lower it.
"So check your following distance, dip your lights, and remember, puku haumaru (drive safely)."
He said the new motorway "provided us with a much-needed network resilience" when State Highway 59 was closed during a period of bad weather early last month.
"This gave an opportunity for emergency services and incident responders to get to the Kāpiti Coast."
Technology also helped calculate journey times leading to real-time notifications.
"That is carried through technology that pings the Bluetooth of cars as they travel along the road.
"As they go through different sections, we get those pings, and that updates the boards."
The other guest speaker was the motorway's Principal Project Manager Craig Nicholson, who talked about the many challenges of building the motorway.
"There's been well over 11 million cubic metres of material moved around.
"There are some very high cuts, up to 70m in the Wainui Saddle - similarly there are some very high soil embankments, up to 40m high in places, and there have been 25 bridges and major culverts constructed."
Other challenges were general corridor access, relocating various infrastructure and, of course, the pandemic.
"The contractor had a largely overseas-based workforce and so a lot of the more senior people went home to Australia when the first lockdown happened and weren't able to come back."
The Te Ara a Toa Bridge was a huge undertaking which included "7000 cubic metres of concrete just to build the foundations for the two piers".
"The reason for that is because of the seismic shaking in the Wellington region.
"All of our bridges are designed to withstand a two-and-a-half-thousand-year earthquake.
"What that means is that they're designed to withstand an 8.2 magnitude earthquake with basically only cosmetic damage."
Nicholson estimated the overall Transmission Gully project was about 95 per cent complete.
Now that the motorway is operational, Ventia is in charge for the next 25 years, ensuring its smooth running.