The NZ Transport Agency is encouraging people to take the severe weather forecast into account when planning road trips over the next couple of days.
“The MetService is warning of strong winds and heavy rain for most of the North Island from Thursday onwards. This will coincide with when many people are planning to travel over the Easter break,” Mark Owen, NZ Transport Agency Regional Performance Manager, says. “As weather and road conditions can change rapidly, check current conditions before you travel, and consider delaying your journey to and around areas forecast to be significantly impacted by the severe weather.”
“If you do travel, allow extra time for your journey. Be prepared for challenging driving conditions, including debris on the road, and possible detours and road closures. Storm conditions such as wind gusts can also affect high-sided vehicles, motorcyclists, and cyclists,” Mr Owen says.
Transport Agency contractors will be monitoring road and weather conditions so they can quickly respond to flooding, slips and rock falls.
“With Easter and Anzac Day coinciding with the school holidays this year, we expect there may be more holiday traffic heading out of and into Wellington than usual,” Mr Owen says.
Easter will be the first holiday weekend since the Mackays to Peka Peka section of Kapiti Expressway opened to traffic.
“The Kāpiti Expressway is a new road layout. Where the Expressway links in to the existing network, we want to reinforce that people need to show courtesy and merge like a zip to help traffic keep flowing.”
“We will also monitor traffic and close passing lanes to help traffic flow safely. The lanes will be signposted and fenced off with traffic cones,” Mr Owen says.
On State Highway 2, motorists will notice a change to the road layout from Saturday 15 April, at the new State Highway 2/State Highway 58 Haywards Interchange.
The whole interchange project is due to be complete in July but in order to finish the last stages of construction, motorists will be moved onto the new layout on Saturday, depending on the weather.
“There’ll be plenty of signage to guide you, and a lower speed limit will be in place to allow everyone to get used to the new layout, and the on and off-ramps.”
A poll conducted by the Transport Agency on social media indicated that three quarters of Wellington respondents plan to travel on Thursday 13 April (32 percent) and Friday 14 April (41 percent). Coming back, 43 percent indicated they plan to travel on 16 April, Easter Monday.
www.nzta.govt.nz/hotspots(external link) indicates the busiest times on the Wellington region’s state highways, based on past traffic patterns.
“As well as checking the weather and road conditions, make sure you and your vehicle are both in good shape, and if your journey is going to be a long one, take plenty of breaks or share the driving. We want everyone to have a safe and happy holiday break,” Mr Owen says.
For up to date information on road conditions, call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49), visit www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic(external link), or sign up to www.onthemove.govt.nz(external link).
For the Wellington region, www.facebook.com/nztawgtn(external link) or www. twitter.com/NZTAWgtn(external link)
If you’re travelling outside of the Wellington region, check our other social media channels for information www.nzta.govt.nz/contact-us/connect-with-us(external link).
Check the MetService www.metservice.com(external link) for the latest severe weather warning and watches.
As there may be impacts on local roads and services, check your local Council or Civil Defence website and Facebook for local updates.