The NZ Transport Agency advises people travelling north from Auckland for the Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend to allow extra time for travel because of a possible protest on State Highway 1 north of Puhoi on Friday [4 June].
Protest organisers, who object to the proposed boundaries for the new Auckland city, have threatened to drive a convoy of vehicles slowly on the 19 kilometres of SH1 from Puhoi to Warkworth from 3pm on Friday.
Southbound travellers are also warned that there is a risk of congestion from protestors around the Northern Gateway Toll Road payment kiosks at Puhoi, restricting access to the machines.
There are choices available to holidaymakers to minimise any delays if the protest does go ahead, says the Transport Agency’s State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker.
Mr Parker says that the NZTA is liaising with the Police to co-ordinate traffic management on the day and to ensure any disruption from the protest is kept to a minimum.
The NZTA will use roadside electronic messages to advise motorists of traffic conditions ahead and direct people to alternative routes if necessary, and all road improvement works in the area will be stopped unless there is an emergency.
“Our priority is to ensure that the highway remains safe for everyone,” Mr Parker says. “There is a potential risk of a queue northbound on SH1 because of the convoy, and people will need to drive with care and patience.”
In addition to preparations to manage the protest, the NZTA is also suspending all road improvement works on state highways in Auckland and Northland for the long weekend. Mr Parker says that speed restrictions at these sites will remain in place, and people need to travel through them with care. Key sites include:-
Mr Parker reminds motorists that the Queen’s Birthday weekend also coincides with the start of winter. “With weather more unsettled and fewer hours of daylight, people should drive to the conditions and allow extra time for their journeys to ensure they enjoy the weekend break safely,’ he says.