Labour Weekend: take a break and come back safely


Ahead of the three-day Labour Weekend, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency reminds travellers of a useful tool that shows predicted traffic flows at particular times, based on previous years’ travel patterns.

Tool: link)

"Holiday weekends are always busy across the South Island and with good weather forecast, congestion and delays are inevitable at peak times,” says Transport Agency Journey Manager, Tresca Forrester.

“But if everyone leaves plenty of time for their trip, is patient and aims to enjoy the journey, then people can arrive at their destinations safely and passengers will have enjoyed it too."

Because predicted peak times can change based on incidents (sometimes caused by crashes), weather and driver behaviour, we suggest that you check link) before you leave for accurate information about current road and traffic conditions.

Most work sites will shut but some will remain single lane: Takaka Hill, Kāikoura and Waimakariri Bluffs, detour at Omoto near Greymouth

Transport Agency crews will shut down most active work sites around the South Island by midday on Friday, 25 October.

But some places have to stay single lane, so anticipate some short delays:

  • Takaka Hill, SH60 - construction work runs right through this summer, repairing the damage from ex-cyclone Gita early 2018.
  • SH1 Kaikōura (earthquake repairs ongoing) - on both the north and south sides of the coastal town.
    As well as the single lane sections, people may notice changes and new places to safely stop along the coastline so be particularly wary of people slowing down or turning in unexpectedly, says Ms Forrester.
  • Waimakariri Bluffs, SH73 – single lane with traffic control for rock stabilisation work above the highway. Manual Stop/Go people will help keep traffic rolling at the peak hours over the weekend between the West Coast and Canterbury with traffic signals outside those times.
  • Ōmoto landslide, at the SH7 entrance to Greymouth, has closed this section of highway. Drivers are being detoured over the Cobden Bridge and at Stillwater, a very short detour, but please take it slowly through Taylorville, says Ms Forrester. The Coal Creek overbridge, a local road on the detour, has a 30km/hour speed limit and it is particularly important for truck drivers to reduce speeds here.

Where else can I expect the highways to be busy?

The Transport Agency’s holiday journeys site(external link) shows the busiest areas through the South Island including:

  • SH1 through Kaikōura and North Canterbury, south of Christchurch through Ashburton and Timaru
  • SH7 through the Lewis Pass
  • SH70 near Geraldine
  • SH73 Arthur’s Pass route between Canterbury and the West Coast
  • SH6, between Nelson and Blenheim, and also through Murchison
  • SH6 into and out of Queenstown and Wanaka

Safe driving tips

  • Drive to the conditions, whether it’s the weather, the time of day or amount of traffic.
  • Take regular breaks to stay alert and ensure fatigue doesn’t affect your driving. Share the driving if you can.
  • 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 and avoid the need to rush.
  • Check your car is safe, warranted, windwipers/lights are working and you have a spare tyre inflated before you head off.

Real time information for drivers