Drivers strongly urged to avoid all non-essential travel in Upper North Island


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is strongly urging people to avoid all non-essential travel in the Upper North Island, with several state highways and local roads closed due to downed trees, slips and flooding.

  • Several state highways and local roads closed.
  • Driving conditions hazardous on many roads which remain open.
  • Roadside travel information signs impacted by communications outages.

Several regions remain under MetService Heavy Rain and Strong Wind warnings, and people are urged to avoid all non-urgent travel.

MetService warnings and watches(external link)

Communications outages in several regions are preventing contractors from updating roadside electronic Variable Message Signs (VMS) with accurate information for motorists.

Waka Kotahi National Emergency Response Team spokesperson Mark Owen says the communications outages in affected areas means that several VMS signs which motorists usually rely on for information on road conditions and closures are non-operational or not displaying current information.

“We’re keeping our on-line Journey Planner up to date with the latest available information, and this is still the best source of the most current information for anyone who does need to travel.

Journey Planner(external link)

“We’ll re-instate our VMS signs as soon as communications links are re-established, but we must emphasise how volatile the situation is in areas most affected by the storm, and we are urging people not to travel unless it’s absolutely necessary.

“Conditions are hazardous on many highways and local roads, with trees and other debris down, surface flooding, continuing heavy rain and high winds making driving conditions extremely difficult,” Mr Owen says.

Waka Kotahi is also urging anyone who does need to drive in areas affected by severe weather 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.

More information: