The NZ Transport Agency is encouraging motorists heading away this Waitangi Weekend to plan their journey and travel outside peak times to avoid delays.
State highways in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Coromandel are expected to be extremely busy from 1.30pm on Friday when holiday traffic begins to hit the roads.
“On some highways, such as SH1 between Auckland and the Waikato and SH2 between Paeroa and Tauranga vehicle numbers are estimated to more than double as people race to relax on the beach this long weekend,” Transport Agency journey manager Nigel D’Ath says.
“We expect traffic volumes to be heavy in both directions, so it is important that motorists are prepared for delays, are patient, and drive to the conditions.”
Mr D’Ath says the combination of more vehicles on the road, driver fatigue and other stressful things like heat and traffic delays contribute to making the roads riskier during the holidays.
“Stress-free journeys are safer journeys so it's important that motorists are patient and ready for the possibility of hold-ups when they set out on their holidays,” he says.
“Our websites help you plan ahead and choose the best times to travel and routes to avoid delays and reduce stress. Don’t forget, you can also follow us on twitter and Facebook to get the latest updates
The Transport Agency has compiled a snapshot of traffic hotspots based on previous Labour Weekend congestion. www.nzta.govt.nz/hotspots(external link)
The maps are designed to help motorists plan ahead and avoid travelling during the times congestion is predicted to be heaviest.
For personalised information about driving conditions on their frequently used routes, motorists can sign up to On The Move at www.onthemove.govt.nz(external link)
For real time information on highway conditions and incidents or to report issues on the network visit www.nzta.govt.nz(external link) call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS or follow @nztawaibop on twitter.
To minimise delays road works around the Waikato and Bay of Plenty will be stopped from midday Friday until 10am on Tuesday.
Sites that may cause delays following the long weekend are detailed below to help people plan their journey.
SH1 Kahikatea Drive, Hamilton
People travelling on SH1 through Hamilton next week should be prepared for minor delays as work gets under way to install traffic lights at the Kahikatea Drive and Gallagher Drive intersection.
Speed restrictions and traffic management will be in place. The work is expected to wrap up mid-year.
SH3 Ohaupo Road, Hamilton
Work has started on a shared path for cyclists and pedestrians alongside on SH3 in Hamilton.
The $2 million project runs along SH3 Ohaupo Road from Lorne Street to Dixon Road, with an arm up Normandy Avenue to Bader Street. It will be completed in April.
Work has begun at the Dixon Road end. The majority of works will be done behind a shoulder and no delays are expected.
SH3 – south of Hamilton Airport turn-off
More than 1km of roadwork on SH3 just south of the Hamilton Airport turn-off is under way and motorists can expect minor delays for the next four weeks.
Speed restrictions are in place during the work, and while the nearby roundabout is built. Motorists on this route should add a few minutes to their journey times.
Ruts in SH1 south of Atiamuri have been filled but roads users are advised to take care and adhere to speed restrictions as the repairs need trafficking to bed down.
The road was resealed twice since mid-December but the repairs were only partly successful. The Transport Agency is carrying out investigations to determine why the repairs have not worked as expected.
Works on Matamata’s main street will restart on the night of 9 February.
Meura St to the iSite has been completed apart from final seal and line marking which will be done when work resumes. The roundabouts at SH27/24 and SH24-Burwood Road intersections are next on the work programme.
Work continues on the roundabout being built at the intersection of SH3/21.
A temporary diversion road is now in place for all traffic going in and out of SH21. The project will be completed in May. Allow for minor delays.
Traffic management and speed restrictions are in place along some sections of SH1 as work continues on the Rangiriri and Huntly sections of the Waikato Expressway.
A 50km/h speed restriction is now in place near the Rangiriri village to allow work to shift into the south-bound lanes.
Please take care when travelling through the site and respect the speed restrictions.
Takitimu Drive Toll Road (formerly Route K)
Motorists travelling southbound on Tauranga’s Takitimu Toll Road are advised to drive with extra care next week as contractors continue work on the foundations of a new road sign gantry.
Work starts on the concrete foundation on Tuesday February 3 (weather permitting) and will continue for two weeks. A speed restriction and lane closures will be in place at times during the work. The gantry will be erected in March.
Rotorua motorists are advised to allow extra time when travelling this week as contractors carry out roadworks and reseals on a number of state highway sites.
Stop/go traffic management, changes to the road layout and speed restrictions will be in place on some state highway sites.
Motorists are advised to allow and extra 10 to 15 minutes when travelling in the area.
SH2 between Tauranga and Waihi
Motorists travelling on SH2 between Tauranga and Waihi are urged to drive with extra care over the next four months as work gets underway on a major safety upgrade.
A section of highway between Wainui South Road and Sargent Drive will be repaired and widened, and a wire rope central median barrier installed to prevent head on crashes.
Work started this month and is expected to wrap up in early May.
People should only expect minor delays but are urged to stay alert behind the wheel as there will be significant changes including lane closures, speed restrictions and occasional stop/go traffic management.
SH36 – Mangorewa Gorge
Motorist travelling between Tauranga and Rotorua on SH36 are advised to expect delays over the next month as contractors carry out rockfall prevention work in the Mangorewa Gorge. Speed restrictions and traffic lights will be in place at times from February 9. Please allow an extra 10 minutes for your journey.