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Plan for busy highways during long holiday break

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Traffic will be heavy on state highways in Auckland and Northland during the Easter break and the NZ Transport Agency is advising drivers to plan ahead to stay safe and avoid delays.

“The school holidays start this week and we’re also expecting many people to take the three days between Easter and ANZAC Day weekend to enjoy a 10 day break before the onset of winter,” says the Transport Agency’s National Journey Manager Kathryn Musgrave.

“This means everyone needs to take even greater care. If people plan their travel in advance, it will ease stress and reduce the need to hurry, making for a safer and more enjoyable journey.”

State highways will be busy with holiday traffic from Thursday (17 April).  A key measure of the spike in volumes is the Northern Gateway Toll Road on State Highway 1 north of Auckland.   Last year, on the Thursday immediately before the start of Easter, there were 22,960 toll road trips – on the Thursday a week earlier, there were 14,615 trips.

“That’s a difference of more than 6000 vehicles between the two Thursdays, and we anticipate volumes will be higher than average right through the Easter break,” says Mrs Musgrave.

Toll road drivers can avoid queues and delays at the cash-only kiosks by going on line at www.tollroad.govt.nz(external link) to pre-pay for their trips.

“It’s the easiest option to get the best use out of the toll road,” says Mrs Musgrave.  “There’s no need to stop to pay, nor are there any bills to pay when you get back home.”

For those wanting to pay by phone, the Transport Agency’s call centre – Freephone 0800 40 20 20 - is open from 8am-8pm on Good Friday, Easter Monday and ANZAC Day but it will be closed on the Saturdays and Sundays.    The Transport Agency reminds people that a surcharge applies for tolls bought at the kiosks or by phone, but there is no surcharge for tolls bought on-line.

In Auckland, there will be two significant project-related closures that will impact on traffic in the city.

As part of the Waterview Connection project, the westbound off-ramp at the Great North Road Interchange will be closed from 11pm on Thursday until 5am on Tuesday 22 April. The alternative route is via Rosebank Road and Ash Street. Further information is available at www.nzta.govt.nz/waterviewconnection(external link).

In the central city, Wellesley Street East between Princess Street and the motorway ramps will be closed from 10pm Thursday 17 April until 5am Monday 28 April for work linked to the Grafton Gully cycleway. The closure will impact on traffic using the motorway off-ramps in Grafton Gully. Full details of the closures are available at www.nzta.govt.nz/graftongully(external link).

Mrs Musgrave says there will also be a number of unmanned work sites on the state highway network in Auckland and Northland where drivers will need to slow down and observe the speed restrictions in place.

“These sites often have uneven surfaces and loose material which can affect the ability to brake quickly. Loose stone chips can also be a hazard.  Driving too fast through these sites can damage vehicles and spoil the new surface.”

Mrs Musgrave says the Transport Agency will be working with the Police, local authorities and ACC to keep state highways safe, but there is a lot people can do to protect themselves, their families and other road users.   

“People should ensure that they are well prepared for their journeys, check their vehicles before heading off, drive with patience, and avoid taking chances when turning or overtaking. We all need to be aware that the risk of a crash does increase when there is more traffic and congestion.”

Additional travel information is available at:-

Planning safe holidayswww.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/around-nz/holidays.html(external link)
Highway information:  www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link) or 0800 4HIGHWAYS
Planning a specific route: www.onthemove.govt.nz(external link)
Northland highways/roads: 0800 111655
Auckland public transport: www.at.govt.nz(external link) 

For more information please contact:
Ewart Barnsley
Auckland/Northland Media Manager
NZ Transport Agency
T: 09 928 8720
M: 027 213 7616
E: ewart.barnsley@nzta.govt.nz

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