The NZ Transport Agency says it has re-opened State Highway 18 (the Hobsonville Motorway) after it was closed when a series of tornados swept through north-west Auckland this afternoon.
The motorway was re-opened just after 4pm It was closed in both directions just after 1.30pm.
Storms brought down light poles, disabled motorway cameras and left sections of the motorway littered with debris.
SH18 was re-opened after NZTA contractors had inspected the motorway for damage and cleared debris.
“We had to be absolutely sure in the first place that it was safe for our contractors to be out making their checks, and then certain that it was safe for drivers to use the motorway again,” says the NZTA’s acting State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Steve Mutton.
The motorway’s Squadron Drive on and off ramps, however, remain closed until further notice.
Mr Mutton says the closure together with the storms is responsible for widespread congestion across the Auckland motorway network this evening. .
“We’re doing everything we can to get traffic running smoothly and safely, but journeys home tonight for some could be longer than usual. We ask drivers to be patient, not follow too closely and use their headlights in case heavy rain reduces visibility.”