NZTA warns Whangarei-bound rugby fans of strong winds


The NZ Transport Agency is asking rugby fans heading to Whangarei for today's Rugby World Cup 2011 match between Tonga and Canada to drive with extra care because of unusually strong winds.

“There are forecasts of winds gusting up to 110 kilometres an hour. Winds this strong are rare for the Auckland/Northland regions and can make driving tricky - particularly for people in high-sided vehicles like camper vans,” says the NZTA’s State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker.  

Mr Parker says most care will be especially needed on exposed sections of State Highway 1 at Schedewys Hill and Windy Ridge just north of the Northern Gateway Toll Road, and in Northland crossing the Brynderwyns.  The NZTA has emergency maintenance crews of standby to ensure key routes are free of wind-blown debris.

“We will do everything we can to ensure that people have a smooth and safe trip to the game,” Mr Parker says.  “Because of the weather and the heavy traffic expected, people should allow plenty of time for their travel.  We’re suggesting people allow at least three hours for the trip.”

With the game starting at 5pm, Mr Parker says fans will be coming home in the dark. 

“Many sections of SH1 are unlit and there could be a risk of debris on rural sections of the highway due to the high winds.  We’re asking people to be cautious and to drive to the conditions so that they can celebrate a great game with a safe journey back home.” Mr Parker says.

Updates on highway conditions are available on 0800 111 655 and www.highwayinfo,