Planning and patience key to happy holiday driving around the Wellington region


Ahead of the summer tradition of the road trip to visit family and friends, NZ Transport Agency is reminding motorists to plan ahead, and be patient, to have happy, safe and stress-free travel this summer.

'We encourage people to plan their travel to try and avoid the heaviest traffic heading in and out of Wellington and around the region,' Mark Owen, Regional Performance Manager, NZ Transport Agency says.

'Feedback we received via an online poll shows an even spread of people planning to head off on holiday on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.'

For people heading out of Wellington, State Highway 1 along the Kapiti Coast gets particularly busy from 10am through to 6pm in the days leading up to Christmas. State Highway 2, heading from Wellington over to the Wairarapa, has traditionally been busier in the days between Christmas and New Year.

'Our hotspots information is based on the busiest times based on previous years travel patterns. These are predictions and are subject to change based on weather or other factors, and we encourage people to check the travel section of our website or our social media pages so they can know the current road conditions before they start their journey,' Mr Owen says.

The Transport Agency will monitor traffic conditions and if necessary install temporary traffic management measures, such as closing passing lanes, to improve traffic flows. Closing passing lanes helps traffic flow more smoothly and improves safety for motorists.

Near the Poplar Avenue Interchange and on the northbound lanes of the Raumati Straights, to keep everyone safe the 70km/h speed restriction will stay in place over the Christmas break. This week, there will be a southbound lane switch at the Poplar Avenue interchange. Up until now the two lanes have been split around the works site, and this evening will be brought together so southbound traffic is travelling side by side.

'Unless required for emergency works, our road crews will be off the road by Thursday 22 December,' Mr Owen says.

Coming back after the Christmas holidays, road users will notice roadworks at various sites throughout the region.

'The warmer months in summer are the best time of year for maintenance and repairs. While we appreciate that people are travelling for their summer holiday break, it is also our window of opportunity to take advantage of good weather to do maintenance to keep our roads in good shape,' Mr Owen says.

Roadworks are dependent on good weather, so the Transport Agency’s website and social media accounts will have up to date information on road conditions and roadworks, but a guide to planned works is:

  • from 27 December to early January 2017, KiwiRail will be working on the railway crossing at Beach Road, Paekakariki. The turnoff over the railway lines will be restricted so follow the detour signs and instructions of traffic controllers to pass through the site  
  • from 28 December, the left northbound lane roadwork on the smart motorway near Kaiwharawhara will be closed from 7am to 7pm for two weeks. Please follow the posted speed for safety
  • from 4 January, work will begin again on the Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway including finishing of the northbound lanes, and work to connect the Expressway to the existing state highway around Poplar Avenue and Peka Peka. To keep everyone safe, these areas will remain at temporary speed limit of 70km/h until opening
  • on 4 January, expect extra traffic around the Otaki area with people travelling to attend the Otaki races
  • from January 8, there will be roadworks at night in the following State Highway 1 locations:
    • between Otaki and Te Horo – chipsealing works
    • reconstruction of the northbound lanes north of Porirua
    • Churton Park intersection to Westchester Drive.

Plan for short delays due to stop/go traffic management at night. During the day, there will be speed restrictions to allow the new chipseal to settle.

  • From 8 January, the high skid-resistant surface will be removed under the Petone on- and off-ramps, State Highway 2. This is to allow the  road to be re-surfaced. Motorcyclists should be careful, especially during wet weather, and slow down when travelling through this area for at least eight weeks after the works as the interim surface has to cure before a new high skid-resistant surface can be applied. 

Whether you are travelling in or out of the Wellington region, or further afield, our holiday hotspots information, as well as up to date information on roadworks and traffic conditions, will be available on our website and social media channels.

All of the details of the Transport Agency’s Facebook and Twitter accounts nationwide can be found at link)

For those from the Wellington region heading south for the holidays, the Transport Agency has a dedicated webpage providing travel information for the Canterbury and Marlborough regions: link)

or you can check the Transport Agency’s South Island Facebook pages or twitter pages –  NZTA Canterbury/West Coast  @NZTACWC or NZTA Otago/Southland @NZTAOS