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Heading north on SH1 from Wellington this Labour Weekend?

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The NZ Transport Agency is reminding motorists heading north on State Highway 1 out of Wellington for Labour Weekend to pay extra attention, with changes to the road layout at both Poplar Ave and through Peka Peka, as part of the construction works for the new Mackays to Peka Peka (M2PP) Expressway.

“There may be some delays as people who don’t use this route every day navigate their way through the temporary road layout,” Mark Owen, Regional Performance Manager, NZ Transport Agency says.

“We are asking motorists to keep to the posted speed limit of 70 km/h through these roadworks sites and carefully observe the signage directing them onto the correct route.”

“Labour Weekend is traditionally a curtain-raiser for the summer holidays, and we want people’s journeys to go as smoothly and safely as possible,” says Mr Owen.

The Transport Agency has released travel data to help motorists dodge the delays this Labour Weekend - http://nzta.govt.nz/hotspots(external link).

“If you get stuck in traffic, it can add frustration to what should be a time of relaxation. Thanks to this travel information, people can avoid the worst travel time periods by planning their journeys before they even pack the boot.”

For people heading north on State Highway 2, motorists are being urged to be patient with a busy run expected over the Rimutaka Hill Road. “There’s a lot of truth in the saying ‘your holiday begins from the moment you leave your front door’ and on this narrow and at times challenging stretch of road, patience and courteous driving will help everyone have a safe and happy holiday.”

Dodge the delays

Mr Owen says that while not everyone will be able to leave work early on Friday or return on Monday morning, those who do will spend less time in traffic.

The busiest times to travel are on Friday mid to late afternoon, to early evening and Saturday morning for outbound traffic, and Monday from lunchtime through to early evening for inbound traffic (especially north of the Ōtaki roundabout).

Mr Owen urges motorists to check online before heading away in case there are any unwelcome surprises for them such as crashes or road closures.

“We’ve got more information at our disposal than ever before, and if we put it to good use, we can take some of the stress out of holiday travel.”

Mr Owen says all scheduled roadworks will be stopped from lunchtime Friday over the long weekend.

“The last thing anyone wants is roadworks delaying their journey, so we’re stopping all scheduled roadworks to give motorists as much of a clear run as possible.”

Maintenance crews will patrol the network to ensure that any hazards or slips can be cleared up quickly.

Mr Owen says there are plenty of ways for the public to keep up to date with traffic conditions so they can make informed travel choices and reduce the chance of experiencing delays during high traffic flows on the highway. People can check out live travel maps on the Transport Agency's traffic website (http://nzta.govt.nz/traffic(external link)), call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS, or visit the Transport for Wellington(external link) site. We will also be posting on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

Passing lane closures to stop queue-jumpers

On Monday 24 October, the Transport Agency will close the State Highway 1 southbound passing lane, north of Ōtaki, just prior to midday and will reopen later that evening when traffic returns to normal.

Mr Owen says the closure of the passing lanes, which is supported by the New Zealand Police, is done to improve safety and traffic flows during peak holiday traffic.

“We close the passing lanes during peak times as it prevents queue jumping and the cumulative slowing of traffic flow caused by queue-jumpers merging back in. Closing the passing lanes when the roads are full improves traffic flow and reduces the risk of nose to tail crashes.

“Closing passing lanes during holiday peaks actually means more vehicles get through and it’s safer for everyone.

“We’ll monitor traffic flows through Ōtaki and, if queues become too long, will put in place traffic management and lane closures at the Ōtaki roundabout.”

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