Waitangi Weekend travel advice – check the latest highway conditions, plan ahead and expect delays


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is urging anyone planning to travel over the Waitangi Day long weekend to check the latest information on road closures and restrictions before starting their journeys, allow plenty of extra time and expect delays in several regions.

Several parts of the country remain under Metservice heavy rain watches and warnings(external link), including parts of Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Coromandel, Taranaki and the South Island’s West Coast.

A number of state highways remain closed due to significant slips and other damage, with lengthy detours in place which will add significantly to travel times in affected areas.

SH23 to Raglan and SH1 from the Brynderwyns to Waipu both remain closed and are highly unlikely to open during the long weekend.

In Auckland the Hibiscus Coast Highway on-ramp is closed due to damage. The toll on the Northern Gateway will remain paused until Friday 10 February or until the on-ramp is re-opened, to provide motorists who need to travel in the area with a reliable alternative to SH16 which remains affected by flooding.

SH25A in Coromandel has sustained major damage and will be closed for some time, with an update to be provided following geotechnical inspections next week.

Heavy rain is likely to affect the West Coast of the South Island on Sunday and Monday, and drivers are urged to check the latest conditions before driving in the region.

Stop/go traffic control will be in place at a number of locations, with many trucks on the road busy removing debris and slip material as the long clean-up process gets underway.

Waka Kotahi National Emergency Response Team spokesperson Mark Owen is urging people to check the latest conditions and factor in the likelihood of significant delays for journeys in many regions before deciding whether or not to head away this weekend.

“If you do decide to travel in affected areas, please check the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner(external link) before you leave. This page is updated 24/7 by our traffic operations centres, and is the best source of the most recent and reliable information available on state highway closures and disruptions. Remember to refresh the page when checking the status of highways to ensure that the latest updates are displayed.”

Mr Owen says Waka Kotahi will continue to issue social media updates with the latest information around the clock to ensure people are well informed.

“We’re focused on keeping everyone fully informed and as safe as possible. Our people are working day and night to make that happen, and roading contractors are also working around the clock in incredibly difficult conditions to monitor the state highway network for slips, flooding and other disruptions.  Contractors will always do their best to keep roads open and minimise disruptions, but the nature of this event means that roads may need to be closed at short notice to keep people safe,” Mr Owen says.

Waka Kotahi is also urging everyone using roads in affected areas to adjust their driving to the conditions, which means slowing down, increasing following distances, switching headlights on and watching for flooding and other debris on the road.

Slips and surface water are likely to disrupt travel in affected regions, making some roads impassable and others likely to close at short notice.