Planning ahead to choose the best time to travel could help you avoid frustrating delays on the road this holiday season.
The NZ Transport Agency says motorists can do their bit by staggering their journeys outside of the busiest periods and checking the Transport Agency’s real time traffic information services for the latest updates on highway conditions.
“Roads across Auckland and Northland are always busy at this time of year as people visit family and friends and there are often incidents that cause delays, but if everyone allows plenty of time for their journey, drives to the conditions and plans ahead before leaving home the worst of the frustrations can be eased,” says Brett Gliddon the Transport Agency’s Auckland and Northland Highway Manager.
The Transport Agency has produced interactive maps showing the busiest routes and times over the Christmas and New Year holidays, these are available at www.nzta.govt.nz/hotspots(external link).
“Data from previous years shows state highways will be busy throughout the middle of the day all the way from the 23rd of December to the 4th of January, with some particularly heavy times on individual routes and days.”
State Highway 1 between Puhoi and Wellsford is one of the busiest points on the network. Congestion starts to build northbound from about 9am, through to the middle of the day from Christmas Day to New Year’s Eve. Southbound traffic is heaviest from 10am through to mid-evening from 1st January to 4th January.
The Hill Street intersection at Warkworth in particular can get very congested due to the higher volumes of traffic than it was designed for.
“To ensure these are managed as smoothly as possible traffic cameras at the intersection will be monitored by traffic operators at the Auckland Transport Operations Centre. The traffic light sequencing will also continue to be adjusted to allow more traffic to pass through the intersection depending on which direction the heaviest traffic flows are coming from.”
SH1 Kawakawa south of Bay of Islands – heaviest southbound on the 1st and 2nd of January.
SH1 Whangarei southbound the flows are at their busiest from 7am on 23rd December, again on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Northbound the peak times are 23rd and 24th December throughout the middle of the day.
State Highway 1 at Takanini south of Auckland is particularly busy southbound from about 10am until 2.30pm from the 23rd of December through to the 28th December. While northbound lunchtime to 4pm on Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th January are the heaviest.
SH2 Maramarua Interchange with SH1 Eastbound you’re most likely to face delays on Christmas Eve from about 3pm, again on 26th December through to the 30th of December through the middle of the day, and again on 2nd January. Westbound it’s busiest in the afternoon from 1 January to 4th January.
To minimise delays most road works on major projects are paused through the holiday period and won’t resume until the second week of January.
In Northland the State Highway 1 Akerama Improvements project will be the only project where construction crews will remain working.
Neilson Street Onehunga
From Tuesday 27 December until Sunday 15 January, Neilson Street will be closed between Galway Street and Onehunga Mall to demolish the rail bridge and replace it with a new, lowered road.
People should avoid Neilson Street if they can as it will be busy in the area and delays are expected.
These early works are part of the East West Link and will help to improve travel times for freight and motorists who currently struggle uphill to reach the intersection at Onehunga Mall.
SH20A to Airport
Motorists travelling to Auckland Airport over the busy holiday period are advised to add an extra 30 minutes to their journey with extra traffic in the area and some road works causing delays.
Southern Corridor SH1
Narrowed lanes and 80km/h speed restrictions will be in place during the holiday period on the Southern Motorway heading southbound between Orams Road and the Pahurehure Inlet. Drive with care and allow extra time for your journey.
“Our teams will be on duty 24 hours a day seven days a week across the holiday season to monitor and manage traffic flows and will be working hard to keep people informed about traffic conditions,” says Mr Gliddon.
The Transport Agency also encourages people to use the range of information designed to give real time data about travel times, conditions on the network and information about alternative routes.