All roadworks on motorways and state highways in Auckland and Northland - except for the Auckland Harbour Bridge - will be put on hold throughout the Christmas and New Year holiday period. This is done every year to improve the convenience and safety of motorists over this period.
NZ Transport Agency northern operations manager, Joseph Flanagan, says roadworks will be halted on Friday 19 December and, except for any emergencies, will only begin again on Sunday 4 January.
"We are doing this because we know that people will be travelling a great deal over the holiday period and we want them to be able to do so without having to deal with the restrictions and inconvenience that roadworks impose," he says.
Mr Flanagan says that already there is evidence of growing congestion throughout the Auckland motorway network as more and more people are carrying out their Christmas shopping and generally preparing for the holidays.
"Everywhere you go there is more traffic than normal throughout the day. This will only get worse next week when the schools start closing down for the summer holidays. So, halting all roadworks on 19 December will definitely make it easier for people to get around."
At present there is a great number of capital project and maintenance works being carried in both Auckland and Northland and the NZTA thanks motorists for their patience and co-operation while coping with the resultant roadworks.
These include construction of the new motorway from SH1 to SH20 in Manukau, the construction of the duplicate bridge on the Southwestern Motorway (SH20) at Mangere, construction of the new (SH20) motorway extension through Mt Roskill and the construction of the new SH18 motorway through Hobsonville.
Additionally, there is construction work underway for new ramp signals on the Southern, Northwestern and Northern motorways.
Mr Flanagan says that roadworks will intensify over the next week in order to get them completed before the holidays. "We apologise for any inconvenience that this work might cause motorists but we have to do this in order to have them completed by Friday 19 December."
Between 14 and 18 December there will be 16 overnight closures, two on the Northwestern Motorway, one on SH16 and SH18, three on the Southwestern Motorway and five on the Northern Motorway. The closures will be partial and will not affect the full motorway and where necessary detours will be in place.
In Northland the extensive maintenance work including slip repairs, resealing and safety improvements on SH1 between Wellsford and Whangarei and Brynderwyn and Dargaville will come to a halt from 18 December to mid January. Work will also be stopped on the two passing lanes between Whangarei and Kawakawa and Kawakawa and Kaikohe.
The only exception to the roadwork halt will be the Auckland Harbour Bridge which will have two of its eight lanes closed during the day and night, for its annual resealing and ongoing strengthening works. Curran Street on-ramp in St Mary’s Bay will also remain closed during this period.
Work will also continue on the Northern Gateway Toll Road between Orewa and Puhoi but as this is still unopened it will not affect normal traffic which will continue to use SH1 though Orewa and Waiwera.
Mr Flanagan says the NZTA will again be advising motorists travelling north to use the alternative SH16 route from Silverdale to Wellsford during peak travelling times to avoid the congestion that usually occurs between Orewa and Warkworth over the holiday period.
"On behalf of the NZTA I wish all motorists safe and enjoyable travel over the holiday period."