Heavy Easter traffic prompts call to plan ahead


Traffic is expected to be heavy on Canterbury highways this Easter with the long weekend break coinciding with the start of the school holidays and the NZ Transport Agency is asking motorists to plan ahead to stay safe and avoid delays.

"We’re expecting large numbers of motorists to be heading out of Christchurch for the Easter break late Thursday/early Friday, making it important that everyone is prepared for possible queues and delays on State Highway 1," says the Transport Agency’s Journey Manager Lee Wright.

"If everyone plans their travel in advance, it will ease stress and reduce the need to hurry, making for a safer and more enjoyable journey."
Throughout Canterbury, there were 17 injury crashes last Easter, resulting in three deaths, seven serious and 10 minor injuries. In the last five years there have been six fatal crashes in the region at Easter and the Transport Agency is reminding everyone to slow down, be patient, take breaks when tired or frustrated with traffic flows and to drive to the conditions.

Ms Wright says a lot of people are expected to head away this Easter with the start of the school holidays and this means everyone needs to take even greater care and think about when it may be best for them to travel to avoid delays.

“Traffic heading north from Christchurch on State Highway 1 is expected to be the heaviest from 3.30pm to 6.30pm on Thursday, and if heading south on SH1, from 4.30pm to 6.30pm on Thursday and again from 10am to 2pm on Good Friday.”

For more details on traffic flows on SH1, SH73 and SH7 for the Easter holiday period and the days and times when motorists may like to consider alternative travel, visit our website(external link).

It is expected motorists will face minimal delays from roads works, with only one site each to the north and west of Christchurch where there are expected to be speed restrictions.

To the north, work continues on State Highway 1, near Hapuka, north of Kaikoura where the speed restriction remains 50km/h, while heading to the West Coast, work continues over a 800m section of State Highway 73, just west of Arthur’s Pass Township, where the speed limit is 30km/h.

Ms Wright says there will be other areas of the highway network where sealing works will have just been completed this week and there may still be some loose chip. “Motorists are asked to slow down and to be courteous to prevent broken windscreens and damage to other vehicles.”

For updates on state highway conditions and hazards freephone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS or visit the website www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link).

For more information please contact:

Jan McCarthy
Media Manager - Christchurch

T: 03 964 2885
M: 021 427 442
E: jan.mccarthy@nzta.govt.nz