NZTA advises drivers to plan holiday travel to avoid rush


State Highways to and from Auckland will be extremely busy throughout the Christmas/New Year holiday break, and the NZ Transport Agency advises people to plan the time of their travel to avoid congestion.

On State Highway 1 north of Auckland, traffic volumes typically increase 50 per cent during the holiday over a normal working weekday, says the NZTA’s Regional Director for Auckland and Northland, Stephen Town. 

“The busiest section of the highway will be between Puhoi and Warkworth. Up to 13,500 vehicles usually head north daily and the heaviest traffic will occur between 9am and 6pm every day,” Mr Town says.

Mr Town says drivers do have choices to avoid congestion:-

  • Pre-pay tolls for the Northern Gateway Toll Road at freephone 0800 402020 or link)
  • By-pass Puhoi/Warkworth congestion by using SH16 as an alternative
  • Avoid travel during the 9am-6pm peak

Traffic will also be busy heading south, and there will be detours in place so that drivers can avoid delays at the single-lane Kopu Bridge on SH25 in north Waikato. 

“If people can plan travel outside peaks, they will avoid busy highways and reduce the time they spend in their vehicles when summertime temperatures are at their highest,” Mr Town says

Sections of the Auckland motorway network will remain busy during the holiday because of sporting events and post-Christmas sales.  Two southbound lanes on the Auckland Harbour Bridge will be closed from Boxing Day for re-surfacing, and the southbound lanes of the Southern Motorway between Market Road and Greenlane will be closed for three nights during the New Year weekend for essential safety work.   

“Some of highway projects will also be resuming some work early during the break, and people need to drive with care for their safety and the safety of workers on construction sites,” says Mr Town.

The NZTA has commissioned a new online advice service to give people using the Auckland motorway network travel time information to key destinations around the city.  The travel times can be viewed at link)

“The online service will help people choose the right travel option before starting their journey and avoid any hold-ups on the network,” says Mr Town.

People also need to be aware of construction sites and speed restrictions on state highways throughout Auckland and Northland.  Roadside electronic messaging will be used in some areas to inform people of traffic conditions ahead, and the NZTA will work with Police to help people avoid hold ups.  

People can get up to date information about traffic conditions from roadside electronic message boards, calling 0800 444449, or at link)

Tools to help plan a journey that is safe and enjoyable is available at link) 

“All highways in Auckland and Northland will be busy during Christmas and New Year,” says Mr Town. “Our hope is that that everyone using the roads will reach their destinations safely and with as little disruption as possible.”