Leave early for safe trip: NZTA advice for Whangarei-bound rugby fans


The NZ Transport Agency is advising rugby fans driving to Whangarei for today's RWC 2011 match between Tonga and Japan to allow plenty of time for a safe trip.

With a 7.30pm kickoff, drivers should allow at least three hours for the journey north to take account of extra traffic, says the NZTA's State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker.

"Having plenty of time and driving with care and patience will help ensure everyone gets to Whangarei safely for what promises to be a great game," Mr Parker says.  "We'll be doing everything we can to ensure traffic flows smoothly between the two cities."

The NZTA is suspending all road works tomorrow on the  section of SH1 between Auckland and Whangarei.

Some sections of SH1 - the Dome Valley between Warkworth and Wellsford and the Brynderwyn Hills in Northland - have permanent 80kph speed restrictions place in place for safety reasons.

Mr Parker says that is also important that fans take their time to ensure a safe journey home after the game.

"People will be returning home after dark, and in many places this section of SH1 is an unlit rural road where conditions are very different from an urban motorway. We've made extensive safety improvements to this part of the highway network in recent years, but it is still important that people drive to the conditions, keep a safe following distance and keep their speeds down.

"Our goal is to ensure Rugby World Cup 2011 is not only a winning one for New Zealand, but a safe one as well. We don't want anyone's World Cup to be marred by an avoidable road crash."