The NZ Transport Agency is advising motorists to plan ahead now for the possible closure of the Auckland Harbour Bridge if wind levels become strong later today.
Auckland Highway Manager Brett Gliddon says closing the bridge would be unprecedented but if predicted winds of between 130-160km/h eventuate travel on the Harbour Bridge would be dangerous.
“Closing the bridge is not a decision we will take lightly because it will have a significant impact on traffic flows throughout the city, however our first priority is safety and that’s what will determine any closure,” says Mr Gliddon.
“If the bridge is closed to traffic this will have a flow-on effect across the rest of the motorway and local road network, so motorists should expect long delays, and avoid travelling if they don’t need to.”
Alternative routes between the city and North Shore will be via State Highway 16 and 18.
“We encourage people to think ahead and start planning alternative ways to get home or to their destinations later today and to consider delaying any non-essential travel across the bridge.”
A team of operators will be monitoring wind measuring devices detailing the wind strength and direction and visually monitoring the impact any wind is having on vehicles travelling on the harbour bridge.
Any closures will be implemented in stages and is likely to include reducing the speed limit over the bridge and reducing number of lanes open to traffic. All changes will be communicated widely.
If the Harbour Bridge does remain open, there could still be strong wind gusts and the Transport Agency would then lower speeds on the bridge and potentially close some lanes to traffic.
“We’d encourage high sided vehicles and motorcyclists to avoid using the bridge if it’s very windy and for all road users to extend their following distances and watch their speeds.”
Weather and road conditions can change rapidly so check current conditions before you travel. For the latest information check the Transport Agency’s traffic and travel pages on our website www.nzta.govt.nz (external link) sign up to www.onthemove.govt.nz (external link) for up-to-date information on what is happening on the route you plan to travel, phone Freephone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS for national and regional travel updates or visit one of the Transport Agency’s social media channels .