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3 Laning?

Not content with using “roading” as a noun meaning “the provision and building of roads” the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has now introduced another example of why suits should not be allowed to write signs.

A stretch of motorway on the north side of Auckland is being widened and there is a forest of signs proclaiming “3 laning project in progress”!

GRRRR GNASH GNASH!!                              :)

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I don't really see the problem. It's succinct and tells you exactly what's happening in a more precise way than "Road widening in progress" or "Motorway upgrade in progress" or some such thing. Also this addition of lanes seems to be an imajor part of the NZTA's strategy, which they no doubt want to differentiate from normal road improvements

I take it that this is the Upper Harbour Highway to Greville Road Northbound section. Here 3-laning contrasts with 4-laning projects at SH1 Russley Road, Christchurch and Wairere Drive, Hamilton.

Although many of the entries for 3-laning are indeed from NZ, it doesn't seem to have been dreamed up by NZ 'suits', but more likely by US engineers. Google has entries from India and the US: Athens, Georgia and Waverly, Iowa. Nor is it particularly new; this link is to the Ocala Star Banner, Marion County, and is from 1987:,3063885

Warsaw Will December 9, 2014 @ 3:47PM

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In fact, it turns out to be quite a bit older than that:

"This overpass built at a cost of $507,000 completes the three-laning of Highway U. S. 30 from the city of Cheyenne east to the Nebraska state line. " - Western Construction - Volume 30, 1955

"The Colorado department of highways has completed grading for three-laning six miles of U.S. 40, from Berthoud Pass down the western slope of the Rockies." - Roads and Streets, 1961

Warsaw Will December 9, 2014 @ 4:00PM

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Thanks for the info Will.
I admire your dedication to research.

Perhaps I'm getting more pernickety as I age, but 3-laning just strikes me as odd.
"Road improvement" or "lane upgrades" would serve just as well.

I must confess that NZTA is one of my favourite sources of pet peeves.
The organisation first caught my attention when is saw a sign describing a highway being built to bypass the Auckland suburb of Hobsonville as "The Hobsonville Deviation".
(Sounds like some kind of nasty habit unique to the residents.)

Hairy Scot December 9, 2014 @ 5:32PM

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@HS - and please keep feeding me these little titbits to research. These little oddities are grist to the mill as far as I'm concerned, and as I neither pay much attention to sports pages nor live in NZ I would miss a lot of them otherwise.

But just to play devils advocate - "road improvement" or "lane upgrade" would certainly explain why you were being held up, but they wouldn't give you the whole picture - that they are converting the road from two lanes to three. As far as I can see, this upgrade is a pretty major development for both the NZTA and the NZ government, and perhaps they want people to know that something significant is going on.

Incidentally, a lot of the hits I got were for online gaming: 'laning' seems to be something you do in two online games: 'DOTA 2' and 'League of Legends'.

Warsaw Will December 10, 2014 @ 1:59PM

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Hairy - you're absolutely right: 'three laning' is indeed ugly.

Skeeter Lewis December 11, 2014 @ 8:06AM

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Both Dota2 and LoL belong to the relatively new genre in computer games that is now called Multiplayer Online Battle Arena or MOBA for short. The original Dota initiated the genre and several other games succeeded it, with these two leading the charge. Those games are very popular today so no surprise they are easy to bump into when you search.

But there is a more specific reason: their gameplay is based on controlling -- conincidentally -- three lanes that connect your base to that of your opponent. The ultimate goal is to push any of the lanes, or better all of them, and destroy the opponent's base.

Anonymous2 December 11, 2014 @ 10:55AM

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Ah. The forgotten beauty of 'Road works ahead'.

Warsaw Will December 11, 2014 @ 2:38PM

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I never understood why the French for 'detour' is 'deviation' on all the roadworks

jayles the unwoven December 11, 2014 @ 6:09PM

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@jayles the unwoven

Aren't deviations very common in France. ;)

Hairy Scot December 12, 2014 @ 5:24PM

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"deviation" + "railway" shows up quite easily on Google

jayles the unwoven December 12, 2014 @ 11:10PM

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@jayles - "I never understood why the French for 'detour' is 'deviation' on all the roadworks".

French has two words - détour and déviation; 'taking the scenic route', for example, would be 'faire un détour', and 'détour' is also used for more permanent meanderings of rivers and roads. It seems to me that 'détour' is used for more deliberate or permanent situations, whereas 'déviation' is used more for temporary situations or those over which we have no control, such as those caused by road works, as is borne out by a quick look at Google Images, or when a plane has to make a detour, for example. However, this is just one of many meanings of 'déviation', which also shares several definitions with its English cousin.

Dictionnaire Altif :éviation

I'm not quite sure why you should be surprised, as both deviation / déviation come from Latin deviare "to turn out of the way". Spanish for detour, for instance, is the rather similar 'desviación', while in Portuguese it's desvio, and in Italian it's deviazioni. It seems to be specifically in English that 'deviation' has deviated away from its literal meaning to include only metaphorical and mathematical ones. The sexual meaning alluded to by HS is quite recent, 1912 according to Etymology Online. Nineteenth century examples seem to be mainly of the mathematical type.

Incidentally, Google dropped support for the plus operator some time ago. :)

Warsaw Will December 13, 2014 @ 5:09PM

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Warsaw Will December 13, 2014 @ 5:11PM

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In spanish we say 'desvio' too and we leave 'desviacion' for sth like 'desviacion sexual'.

hugote December 29, 2015 @ 3:21PM

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