State highway traffic in Auckland and Northland is expected to be heavy this Labour Weekend - the first holiday weekend after winter - and the NZ Transport Agency advises people to plan to avoid delays and allow additional time for travel.
Being courteous, remembering to share the road with others and scheduling frequent breaks can help make travel safer, says the NZTA’s Regional Director for Auckland and Northland, Stephen Town.
“Travelling in high pressure holiday periods like Labour Weekend can be more risky because there are more vehicles on the roads, congestion, tiredness and people driving in unfamiliar environments,” Mr Town says.
Drivers have several choices to help make their holiday pleasurable:-
“We want people to enjoy their holiday journeys safely and not have to rush it,” Mr Town says.
One of the busiest regional highways will be the Northern Gateway Toll Road on SH1 north of Auckland. Just over 16,500 vehicles use it on an average Friday, but that number is expected to increase by three or four thousand on the eve of the long weekend. People planning to use the toll road are advised to buy trips now, and to do so on-line at www.tollroad.govt.nz(external link).
“Buying now allows people to get the best use of the toll road and avoid the need to stop and wait in a queue at the payment kiosks,” says Mr Town.
The NZTA’s call centre will be open on Labour Monday from 8am to 8pm for people who want to pay their tolls by telephone, but a $3.70 administration charges will apply for each transaction. Alternative free routes between Northland and Auckland are available for drivers on the Hibiscus Coast Highway through Orewa and on SH16 between Auckland and Wellsford.
The NZTA reminds drivers in Auckland and Northland to drive with care through rural and urban highway work sites and observe speed limits that are in force.
A southern section of SH12 at Paparoa in Northland will be closed for an hour between 2pm and 3pm on Saturday (20 October) for a parade marking the community’s 150th anniversary.
People driving from Auckland and Coromandel need to be aware of the of the 90km/h speed limit along most of the length of SH2 between the SH1/2 interchange near Pokeno and the SH2/25 interchange near Mangatarata. The exceptions are the Mangatawhiri Deviation, which remains at 100km/h, and the 70km/h speed limit through Maramarua township.
Mr Town says the NZTA will be working with the Police to keep traffic flowing smoothly and ensure people have safe journeys.
“Traffic volumes increase significantly during any holiday and you’ll be sharing the road with other cars, as well as pedestrians, cyclists, heavy trucks, buses, campervans and vehicles towing boats or caravans, and spring weather can be changeable. The NZTA’s priority is that everyone enjoys the welcome break after a long winter, and returns home safely,” Mr Town says.