Saturday, May 25, 2024

Preparation is key this long weekend + wind warning

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Waka Kotahi is encouraging motorists to take extra care when travelling over the long weekend due to not only increased traffic volumes and congestion, but also wet weather conditions. Photo Emesa M30

With forecast wet weather and heavier traffic than usual on state highways in and out of Auckland, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is urging motorists to think before they leave the big smoke this long weekend.

The Waka Kotahi online traffic prediction tool has been updated so those heading away this Auckland Anniversary weekend can see traffic flows, which are based on previous years’ travel patterns.

Those heading to the eastern side of the Coromandel via State Highway 25A will need to carefully plan their leaving time as road closures will be in place overnight from 7pm to 7am as crews investigate cracks caused by active movement.

Planned overnight maintenance to the Auckland Harbour Bridge has also been shifted to Sunday 29 January due to weather. Lane restrictions will be in place between 9pm and 9am and traffic will still be able to travel in both directions at all times.

Steve Mutton, director regional relationships Waka Kotahi is encouraging motorists to take extra care when travelling over the long weekend due to not only increased traffic volumes and congestion, but also wet weather conditions.

“People can expect delays on SH1 between Puhoi and Wellsford (toward Whangārei) with traffic expected to be heaviest from 3:30pm to 6pm on Friday and Saturday from mid-morning until mid-afternoon.

“Motorists heading south on SH1 (towards Auckland) should expect delays most of Monday, with the heaviest traffic from 1pm to 5pm.

“SH1 between Manukau and Bombay (toward Hamilton) is expected to be busy from 2pm until 6pm on Friday with further delays on Saturday from 10am until 2pm.

“Northbound traffic on SH1 (toward Auckland) is expected from midday to late afternoon on Friday and most of the day Saturday with heavy delays anticipated on Monday from 2pm to 6pm.

“More cars on the road, tired drivers and people driving on unfamiliar roads can make holiday driving stressful and risky.

“Checking your car is safe before your journey, keeping your speed down, driving sober, watching for the signs of fatigue and sharing the driving are just some of the things you can do to ensure you arrive safely at your destination” says Steve Mutton.

Because predicted peak times can change based on incidents, weather and even driver behaviour, motorists are encouraged to visit the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner before they leave for accurate information about current road and traffic conditions.

Wind warning: Auckland Harbour Bridge

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is advising motorists that a strong wind watch is in place for the Auckland Harbour Bridge today, with winds gusting 40-50km/h, strengthening this evening to 50-60km/h.

Northeast wind gusts of 90km/h are also forecast tomorrow from 7am – midday, triggering an amber alert. From midday – 10pm wind gusts of 90-100km/h are forecast, with a risk of 110km/h, which would signal a red alert.

Under an amber alert, speeds are reduced and lanes may close on the bridge. Under a red alert, all lanes on the bridge are closed.

Motorists are urged to drive to the conditions, look out for the electronic message boards which will indicate lane closures and reduced speeds, or full bridge closure, and stay within their lane while travelling across the bridge.

Drivers of high sided vehicles and motorcyclists are advised to avoid the Auckland Harbour Bridge and use the Western Ring Route on State Highways 16 and 18.

Waka Kotahi is working closely with Metservice to monitor wind speeds with maintenance crews out on the network ready to react and close lanes on the bridge if wind gusts exceed threshold levels.

The safety of road users is our top priority and we won’t hesitate to reduce speeds, close lanes or close the bridge if necessary.

Motorists are advised to plan ahead by checking the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner before heading out.

High winds could cause delays or cancellations to public transport. To keep up to date on public transport, follow the AT Travel Alerts on Twitter.

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with:

·        Traffic updates: journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic

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