Auckland motorists urged to plan ahead for Waitangi Day
Motorists intending to make a long weekend out of the Waitangi Day public holiday are urged to plan ahead to avoid busy travel times on state highways.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says drivers leaving Auckland on Wednesday afternoon and returning on Sunday are likely to face heavy traffic volumes.
“With Waitangi Day on a Thursday this year we expect a lot of people to make a long weekend of it. We expect the state highway north and south of Auckland to be busy, so it’s worth planning ahead to try to avoid congestion and delays,” says the Transport Agency’s Auckland Operations Manager, Rua Pani.
The Transport Agency has an interactive holiday journeys map for the period, which shows predicted traffic flow based on previous years’ travel patterns.
“This tool is great because it can help people decide whether to take an alternative route or hit the road when traffic flows are lighter, either early in the morning or later in the day.”
“Because predicted peak times can change based on incidents, weather or even driver behaviour, motorists should also check our journey planner just before they head off, which provides traffic information and updates on delays, road works and road closures in real time.”
“Traffic heading north from Auckland on Wednesday will be busiest between Puhoi and Wellsford from 3pm to 7pm.
SH1 is the busy main route north from Auckland, but motorists should consider taking SH16 as an alternative route as far as Wellsford. At busy times, electronic signs on SH1 will display estimated travel times via SH1 and SH16 to give motorists a choice.
Heading back to Auckland on Sunday the busiest travel time is expected to be from Midday to 4pm.
For motorists heading south or to the Coromandel, the Southern Motorway (SH1) is expected to be busiest through Takanini on Wednesday and Friday during the regular evening peak period. Returning on Sunday, the motorway is expected to be busiest from Midday to 4pm.
“If you can plan your travel outside of these times you’ll be giving yourself a much less stressful holiday break and help ease congestion levels for everyone else,” says Ms Pani.
Tips for safe driving this weekend:
- Check your car is in good “health” before you head off. Check your tyre pressure and tread, windscreen wipers, indicators and lights.
- Take extra care when travelling in holiday periods because of increased traffic volumes, congestion, tiredness and people driving in unfamiliar environments.
- Drive to the conditions - whether it’s the weather, the road you’re on, the time of day or amount of traffic.
- Avoid fatigue. Take regular breaks to stay alert.
- Keep a safe following distance from vehicles in front so you can stop safely.
- Be patient – overtaking is unlikely to make a significant difference to your journey time due to the amount of traffic expected over the weekend.
- Allow plenty of time. Remember you are on holiday, so there’s no need to rush.