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Plan for busy highways during Easter break

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Plan for busy highways during Easter break.

Easter 2015 coincides with the start of the school holidays and the NZ Transport Agency is warning motorists to plan ahead with traffic expected to be heavy on Auckland and Northland’s highways and roads.

“We expect the highways and roads throughout the region will be much busier than usual as people take one of the last opportunities to enjoy a long break away before winter,” says the Transport Agency’s Auckland and Northland Highway Manager Brett Gliddon.

“Everyone needs to think about their Easter journey and take extra care on our roads. If everyone takes time to plan their journey, it will help ease any stress and reduce the need to hurry, making for a safer and more enjoyable journey for everyone.”

In the Auckland region there were 32 injury crashes last Easter, resulting in two deaths, six serious injuries and 28 minor injuries. This was the highest Easter crash rate in the region in the last three years.

“We urge everyone to make their journey part of their long weekend away, taking time to stop for coffee or visit attractions if traffic is heavy to avoid frustrations and most importantly, to be patient and courteous.”

Traffic is expected to be heavy from 3.30pm on Thursday 2 April and particularly on the Northern Gateway Toll Road (SH1), north of Auckland. Last year, there were 18,500 toll road trips on the Thursday immediately before the start of Easter – 4000 more than normal on a Thursday.

“We expect numbers to be similar this Easter and to remain high throughout the holiday period.”

Mr Gliddon says drivers heading north are encouraged to pre-pay their Northern Gateway toll online – www.tollroad.govt.nz(external link) – before they leave on their journey. “Not only will there be no need to stop to pay the toll, there will be no bills when you get back home either.

“To help plan your journey, the Transport Agency has produced a congestion map for both the North and South Islands. If heading north from Auckland on Thursday, SH1 at Wellsford will be busy from 3.30pm to 8.30pm and again from 8am to 4pm on Friday. If heading south, SH2 at Waihi will be busy from 2.30pm to 7.30pm on Thursday and 11am to 2pm on Good Friday.

“Traffic heading back into Auckland will be heaviest on SH1 at Wellsford on Easter Sunday from 3.30pm to 5pm and noon to 2pm on Easter Monday, while from the south on SH2 at Waihi, the heaviest traffic flows will be on Monday from 10am to 3pm.”

For more details on traffic flows on SH1 and SH2 for the Easter period and the days and times when motorists may like to consider alternative travel, visit our website(external link).

In Auckland, the quieter Easter period will be used to complete major works, on the SH1 Ellerslie widening project and Northwestern Motorway. This work will involve on-ramp and overbridge closures.

  • The Ellerslie-Panmure Highway citybound on-ramp will be closed, along with the left-lane citybound between the Ellerslie-Panmure Highway to Main Highway overbridge, from 8pm to 6am each night, from Thursday 2 to Tuesday 6 April.
  • The St Lukes Road overbridge will be closed to all vehicles from 8pm Thursday 2 April to 5am Tuesday 7 April.  Contractors will work around the clock to safely build up the existing road levels and construct the approaches to the new, higher overbridge.  Pedestrian access across the bridge, as well as the cycleway, motorway, local roads and public transport links in the area, along with local attractions such as Auckland Zoo and MOTAT will remain open throughout the weekend.
  • At the Te Atatu interchange both of the citybound onramps will be closed from 10pm Thursday 2 April to 5am Tuesday 7 April.  In addition, the citybound motorway at Te Atatu will be reduced to one lane during the day (5am to 10pm) and closed each night (10pm to 5am). These closures are necessary to lower the Te Atatu citybound motorway on-ramp and raise a portion of the motorway, near the bridge.  Pedestrian access across the bridge, the cycleway and westbound motorway will be unaffected.

Mr Gliddon says while road works sites throughout Northland will shut down at noon on Thursday to reduce delays and make it safer for everyone, motorists will still need to be aware of major construction projects underway on the north side of the Brynderwyns and at Akerama, 30km north of Whangarei.

“There will also be temporary speed limits in place and some unsealed sections of highway on SH1, 3km north of Kawakawa and on SH10 north of Zidich Road will need motorists to take extra care.”

Check the Transport Agency’s website: www.nzta.govt.nz(external link) for the latest highway information or sign up to www.onthemove.govt.nz(external link) for up-to-date information on what is happening on the route you plan to travel; freephone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS for national and regional travel updates.

“Don’t forget, you can also follow us on twitter(external link) and facebook(external link) to get the latest updates,” he says.

For more information please contact:

Jan McCarthy
Media Manager - Christchurch

T: 03 964 2885
M: 021 427 442
E: jan.mccarthy@nzta.govt.nz

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