Allow more time to get where you’re going this Christmas


While some Aucklanders have already taken the opportunity to reconnect with loved ones following the reopening of the city’s boundaries, plenty more people are expected to head away in the lead up to Christmas.

Waka Kotahi is advising road users to build in extra time for their journeys with travel patterns less predictable this year. Over the next five days our teams will also be finishing off their important mahi on our capital and maintenance projects along SH1 to ensure we continue to provide safe and reliable travel.

“Earlier this week Waka Kotahi announced a five day pause on any maintenance and capital project works along SH1 that had the potential to cause disruptions, so we could facilitate smoother travel for the tens of thousands of people who have already left Tāmaki Makaurau. This pause will be lifted from 8pm on December 19 with some essential work still needed to be carried out before Christmas,” says Jacqui Hori Hoult.

“We know holiday travel can at times be slow going for road users, but we need people to respect the instructions from our teams on the ground, follow all signage including temporary speed reductions, in order to keep themselves and our contractors safe. We want to make sure everyone gets to enjoy a happy Christmas.”

Waka Kotahi will continue to provide real time traffic updates via our Auckland/Northland Twitter page(external link) with road users also able to use the online traffic and travel tool to help plan their journeys.(external link)

“The important work that’s taking place now will help to get the people of Aotearoa and its economy moving again, as life begins to return to normal,” says Jacqui Hori Hoult.

While Waka Kotahi will still be closing down its worksites from December 23 until January 6 to minimise disruption for holiday traffic, before then, people travelling out of Auckland on SH1 in both directions will need to mindful of the following activity on the network.

Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth

Motorists can expect to see stop/go traffic management in place overnight on SH1 between Hudson Road and Kaipara Flats on Sunday to Wednesday   the week before Christmas as the crew working on the Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Warkworth project carry out resurfacing works.

Dome Valley Safety Improvements project
The Dome Valley safety improvement project is being delivered in stages with work right now focusing on Stage 3 and 5.

This area is particularly geographically challenging heightening the need for reduced speed limits with crews working in close proximity to live traffic.

Before Christmas there will be construction and activities between L.Phillips Road and Waitaraire Bridge.  These works will be constructed behind shoulder closures, with temporary speed restrictions in place. We will be monitoring traffic flows through the area during this time.

Stop/go Traffic management will also be in place overnight from Sunday 19 December to Wednesday 22 December to allow for lane marking and pavement construction between Falls Bridge and Waitaraire Bridge.

Northern Corridor Improvements Project

From Sunday 19 to Wednesday 22 December, the team will be undertaking overnight work in the SH1 central median between Upper Harbour Highway and Greville Road. As our team are working close to the barriers, there will be a southbound fast lane closure and northbound motorists may be required to temporarily merge lanes, but traffic management and signage will guide them through this process.

Summer Maintenance Programme

Our summer maintenance plan is a key part of ensuring smoother, more reliable journeys for people and freight and the warmer months is the best time to carry out resurfacing and rehabilitation work, to help new seal stick to the road surfaces.

State Highway 1 northbound maintenance planned before Christmas includes:

  • Traffic will be reduced to one lane overnight on December 20 to allow for repairs to guardrail on State Highway 1 at Maunu, Whangarei. This will be followed by electrical work on the street lights at this site overnight on Tues 21 and Wed 22 Dec.
  • There will also be stop/go traffic management at Towai overnight Tuesday December 21, to repair guardrail.
  • Please note – For Aucklanders heading south there will also passing lane closures on SH2 for safety reasons from 23-24 December and 27-28 December eastbound (heading toward the Coromandel).

Police/Iwi border Checkpoints

Police have indicated that they will be working with Iwi at two border checkpoints in Northland from December 15, with travellers needing to show a vaccination passport or a negative COVID-19 test.

These checkpoints will be located on SH1 at Uretiti and SH12 Maungaturoto.

Click here(external link) for more information about holiday travel around the Upper North Island.

Waka Kotahi’s top tips for safe holiday journeys

Plan ahead.  Make sure your vehicle is safe to drive(external link). Check your tyre pressure, lights and indicators, windscreen and wipers before you head off, and plan ahead to avoid peak traffic where you can. Build in extra time for rest stops or sightseeing breaks along the way. Waka Kotahi has crunched the numbers from previous holiday periods to produce a great interactive map(external link) which can help you avoid some of the busiest times on our busiest roads.

Don’t drink and drive.  Your judgement and reaction times behind the wheel begin to deteriorate after even one drink. Keep it simple – if you’re going to drink, don’t drive. Also be aware of any medication you’re taking that might affect your driving.

Watch out for fatigue.  Long trips are tiring and fatigue can be deadly behind the wheel. Get a good night’s sleep beforehand, plan in advance where you’ll take breaks, and share the driving if you can.

Slow down and drive to the conditions.  This isn’t just about the speed limit, it’s also about the weather conditions, the road you’re on, the traffic, your vehicle and load, your following distance, and adjusting your driving for wet and windy conditions.

Keep your cool.  Holiday driving can be frustrating with busy roads, stifling heat, and restless kids in the car. So please, be courteous and patient on the roads. Don’t get provoked by other drivers’ aggressive behaviour, and wait to overtake until you get to a passing lane or can see plenty of clear road ahead of you to do it safely.  And be sure to take enough games, books, or electronics to keep the kids occupied along the way.

Buckle up. Don’t let your family holiday be marred by tragedy simply because someone didn’t buckle up. If you’re the driver, you are legally responsible for making sure all passengers under the age of 15 are securely restrained with either a safety belt or child restraint. Children must be properly restrained by an approved child restraint until their 7th birthday.

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with:

Phone: 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49)