The NZ Transport Agency is reminding people traffic on Auckland's motorway network will be heavy tomorrow (Friday, 9 September) leading up to the start of Rugby World Cup 2011and people should plan to travel early to reach their destinations safely and on time.
Tens of thousands of rugby fans will be on the move across the city heading to Eden Park for the official opening and the All Blacks’ game against Tonga, and to the central waterfront area for the tournament’s opening night party.
“We will do everything we can to keep the motorways flowing smoothly to help people have a good time on the city’s biggest night of the year,” says the NZTA’s State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker. “Those fans going to the game or coming into Central Auckland should hop on a bus, train or ferry – using public transport reduces the risk of being caught in congestion or trying to find a place to park.”
Mr Parker says traffic will be heavy around the Auckland Harbour Bridge. The usual afternoon peak lane configuration across the bridge of five northbound lanes and three for those driving south has been suspended, and the NZTA will have four lanes open in both directions. The NZTA will also have tow trucks parked near the bridge to quickly clear any obstacle on this critical section of the network.
Mr Parker reminds drivers not to stop on the side of motorways, particularly during the fireworks display.
‘People need to find a spot early to watch the display. It is not only illegal to stop unless there is an emergency, but motorways are high speed environments and there is a risk of a crash particularly with the increased number of overseas drivers in the city unfamiliar with our conditions,” Mr Parker says.
Mr Parker says there could be a further chance of motorway congestion on Sunday afternoon (11 September) when Australia and Italy play at North Harbour Stadium in Albany.
“Motorways will be busy with not only rugby fans, but also with people heading towards the big shopping centre near the Stadium. If they do have to drive, leave early, but we would again encourage people to use public transport as the best option to get to and from the stadium for an enjoyable and safe Rugby World Cup 2011 afternoon,” Mr Parker says.