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Safe speeds will make for safe Labour holiday

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Roads in Northland and Auckland will be busy this Labour Day Weekend and the NZ Transport Agency says it will be working with the Police to keep traffic moving and families safe on their travels during the holiday break.

“With more traffic on the road as people celebrate their first long weekend break after winter, driving can be more stressful and more risky,” says the Transport Agency’s Regional Director Ernst Zöllner.

Over the past 5 years, 3 people have died, another 22 were seriously injured and 125 suffered received minor injuries in Labour Weekend crashes on roads in Auckland and Northland.   

Excessive speed has been a contributing factor in too many of those crashes, Mr Zöllner says.

“Statistics don’t tell the story of the huge impact on family and friends when loved ones have been killed or seriously injured. We all have a responsibility to look after ourselves and our families, as well as others we share the road with. 

“Many of the roads around our favourite holiday spots are narrow or winding. There’s little room to get out of trouble if someone makes a mistake, and they are not designed to be safe at high speeds.  The Transport Agency urges people to drive at a speed that’s safe and appropriate for the road rather than trying to target the limit.

“We’re urging everyone to be patient, relax, and enjoy the journey,” says Mr Zöllner.  

Traffic will be heavy on all highways north and south of Auckland. One of the busiest sections  will be the Northern Gateway Toll Road, north of Auckland.  Last year, the average number of vehicles using the toll road increased by 3,000 a day during the holiday break compared with the weekend before (a Labour Day Weekend daily average of 19,568 vehicles compared with 16,508 the weekend earlier). Traffic is expected to be heaviest this Friday (24 October). 

Mr Zöllner says rural SH16 between Auckland and Wellsford is a less congested alternative to the toll road and SH1.  

The two lanes on the northbound extension (clip-on) on the Auckland Harbour Bridge will be closed this Sunday (26 October) between 6am-10am from the Curran Street on-ramp to the Stafford Road off-ramp.  The six remaining lanes on the bridge will remain open. 

Congestion may be heavy around the Great North Road interchange on Auckland’s Northwestern Motorway (SH16) on Saturday morning because of a nearby display linked to the tv DIY programme, The Block.   

The Transport Agency will stop all maintenance work – including the upgrade of the SH1/Hill Street intersection in Warkworth - for the holiday weekend unless there is an emergency. 

“Our weekend shutdown will help keep traffic flowing smoothly, but we do ask people to observe speed limits and watch their following distances through work sites.

“Planning before leaving home together with careful and considerate driving will help people reach their destinations safely, enjoy the spring break, and then have a safe trip home,” says Mr Zöllner.

Transport Agency’s top tips for a safe Labour Weekend:

  • Before hitting the road, take the time to check your vehicle is safe – check the tyres, brakes, wipers, indicators and lights.
  • Allow plenty of time for travel – slow down and make the journey part of the holiday
  • Take regular breaks from driving to avoid fatigue
  • Avoid the busiest peak periods when highways are congested.

The Transport Agency has several on-line options to help people plan ahead for safer journeys these holidays: 

Transport Agency social media sites are also updated regularly to help people plan:

 

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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