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Drive safe, plan ahead for Auckland Anniversary weekend on Waikato and Bay of Plenty roads

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is encouraging motorists to drive safe and plan ahead to avoid the busiest times on state highways across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty this Auckland Anniversary weekend.

Director Regional Relationships Steve Mutton says with the Waikato and Bay of Plenty forecast to receive warm, fine weather for the holiday weekend, motorists should prepare for the roads to be busier than normal as people make the most of the long weekend. 

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has updated its online holiday journeys traffic prediction tool to help people plan ahead and avoid delays. The tool shows predicted traffic flow based on previous years’ travel patterns. 

Holiday journeys traffic prediction tool(external link)

“In the Waikato, delays are predicted on State Highway 2 between Pokeno and Maramarua, particularly heading east (toward the Coromandel Peninsula) between 10.15am and 8.15pm on Friday, and between 7.00am and 2.00pm on Saturday. Westbound (toward Pokeno), delays are expected on Friday between 11.00am and 3.00pm, on Sunday between 3.45pm and 5.30pm and on Monday between 10.15am and 10.30pm.” 

Further delays are predicted on State Highway 1 northbound between Tirau and Karapiro throughout the weekend, and on Friday, Saturday and Sunday heading south, particularly on Sunday between 12noon and 12.30pm. 

State Highway 25 is expected to be busy at Tairua, with the heaviest traffic expected heading north on Friday between 12.30pm and 9.00pm, and Saturday between 10.00am and 3.30pm. Southbound, delays are predicted to be heaviest between 2.00pm and 9.45pm on Sunday and 7.45am and 8.45pm on Monday. 

Three way Stop/Go traffic management will be in place at the one-lane Pepe Bridge in Tairua on Friday, Saturday and Monday to assist to assist with the flow of traffic. 

“In the Bay of Plenty, motorists should be prepared for heavy traffic on State Highway 29 over the Kaimai Ranges, particularly heading east (toward Tauranga) on Friday between 3.30pm and 6.15pm, and westbound (toward the Waikato) on Monday between 10.15am and 12.15pm. 

“SH2 between Paeroa and Waihi is expected to be busy heading east (toward Waihi) on Friday between 3.45pm and 5.45pm, and between 10.15am and 4.30pm on Monday westbound (toward Paeroa). Motorists should also expect delays on SH2 between Katikati and Tauranga for much of the weekend, in both directions, with traffic heaviest on Friday between 1.15pm and 7.15pm heading south (toward Tauranga).” 

Because predicted peak times can change based on incidents, weather and even driver behaviour, motorists are encouraged to visit the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner website before they leave for accurate information about current road and traffic conditions. 

Journey planner(external link)

Mr Mutton encouraged motorists to take extra care when travelling over the holiday weekend due to increased traffic volumes, congestion, tiredness and people driving in unfamiliar environments.

“We can all take simple actions to stay safe. That means checking your car is safe before your journey, keeping your speed down, driving sober, watching for the signs of fatigue and sharing the driving. 

“We know that congestion and delays can be frustrating, but the most important thing is that everyone gets to their destination safely. Please plan ahead, be patient and drive to the conditions. 

“Trying to ‘make up lost time’ by speeding and unsafe overtaking puts everyone on the road at risk. Even when it isn’t the direct cause of a crash, speed is often the difference between someone walking away unharmed or being seriously injured or killed. For everyone’s safety, please slow down. 

“Congestion and delays are inevitable in peak times, but if everyone leaves plenty of time for their journey, drives to the conditions and plans ahead before leaving home, there will be less frustration and everyone can concentrate on arriving safely at their destination." 

Tips for safe driving this long weekend

  • Check your car is in good ‘health’ before you head off. Check your tyre pressure and tread, windscreen wipers, indicators and lights.
  • Take extra care when travelling in holiday periods because of increased traffic volumes, congestion, tiredness and people driving in unfamiliar environments.
  • Drive to the conditions - whether it’s the weather, the road you’re on, the time of day or amount of traffic.
  • Avoid fatigue. Take regular breaks to stay alert.
  • Keep a safe following distance from vehicles in front so you can stop safely.
  • Be patient – overtaking is unlikely to make a significant difference to your journey time due to the amount of traffic expected over the weekend.
  • Allow plenty of time. Remember you are on holiday, so there’s no need to rush.

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