Drivers urged to avoid all non-essential travel with severe wind and heavy rain on the way for Upper North Island – Auckland Harbour Bridge likely to close


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is urging people to avoid all non-essential travel in the Upper North Island, with several regions under MetService Heavy Rain and Strong Wind warnings from early tomorrow morning (Sunday 12 February).

“MetService has several weather warnings and watches in place for the upper North Island, and we urge people to keep up to date with the latest forecasts. Heavy rain and severe winds are likely to hit Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay. Many roads in these areas were damaged in the previous storm, the ground is already sodden, and they are particularly vulnerable to slips, flooding and closure,” says Mark Owen, Waka Kotahi National Emergency Response Team spokesperson.

MetService warnings and watches(external link)

“Our advice to people in all areas affected by the predicted heavy rain and strong winds is to avoid any non-urgent travel, and if you must travel make sure you’re checking for the very latest weather conditions with MetService, and the latest road closures via the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner.”

Journey Planner(external link)

Journey Planner is updated 24/7 by Waka Kotahi traffic operations centres, and is the best source of the most recent and reliable information available on state highway closures and disruptions. Remember to refresh the page when checking the status of highways to ensure that the latest updates are displayed.

“We’re focused on keeping everyone fully informed, and our contractors will always do their best to keep roads open and minimise disruptions, but the nature of severe weather events means that roads may need to be closed at short notice to keep people safe,” Mr Owen says.

Mr Owen says with winds forecast to gust up to 130km/h or higher in Auckland from early Sunday morning, it is likely that the Auckland Harbour Bridge will need to close on short notice.

“Driving on the bridge with winds gusting at those extreme speeds is unsafe, particularly for motorcycles and high-sided vehicles. We are constantly monitoring wind speeds on the bridge, and with severe wind gusts possible from early tomorrow morning right through to Tuesday evening, lane closures or full bridge closures may be put in place at any time.”

Electronic message boards will indicate lane closures and reduced speeds, or full bridge closures. Drivers of high sided vehicles and motorcyclists are advised to avoid the Auckland Harbour Bridge and use the Western Ring Route on State Highways 16 and 18.

“Waka Kotahi is working closely with Metservice to monitor wind speeds with maintenance crews out on the network ready to react and close lanes on the bridge if wind gusts exceed threshold levels. The safety of road users is our top priority and we won’t hesitate to reduce speeds, close lanes or close the bridge if necessary,” Mr Owen says.

High winds could cause delays or cancellations to public transport. To keep up to date on public transport, follow the AT Travel Alerts on Twitter.

Auckland Transport Travel Alerts(external link)

Waka Kotahi is also urging anyone who does need to drive in areas affected by severe weather to adjust their driving to the conditions, which means slowing down, increasing following distances, switching headlights on and watching for flooding and other debris on the road.

More information

Auckland Emergency Management

Auckland Emergency Management(external link)

Waka Kotahi Journey Planner link)


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency - Auckland | Facebook(external link)


Waka Kotahi NZTA Auckland & Northland (@WakaKotahiAkNth) / Twitter(external link)

MetService link)

AT Twitter Travel Alerts

Auckland Transport Travel Alerts (@AT_TravelAlerts) / Twitter(external link)