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Plan ahead for safe travel over Easter break

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The NZ Transport Agency is advising Canterbury motorists to plan ahead to stay safe and avoid delays over the Easter break.

"We’re expecting large numbers of motorists to be heading out of Christchurch for the Easter break and it’s important that everyone is prepared for possible queues on State Highway 1 and delays when they set out on their journeys," says the Transport Agency’s Canterbury/West Coast Journey Manager Lee Wright.

"If everyone plans their travel in advance, it will ease stress and reduce the need to hurry, making for a safer and more enjoyable journey."

Ms Wright says a lot more people are expected to be heading away this Easter than in recent years with many people taking the three days off between Easter and ANZAC Day to enjoy a 10-day break before winter.

"This means everyone needs to take even greater care and think about when it may be best for them to travel to avoid delays. For updates on state highway conditions and hazards freephone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS or visit the website www.highwayinfo.govt.nz(external link)."

At the Upper Orari River Bridge, at the intersection of State Highway 79 and Geraldine-Arundel Road there will be stop/go traffic control during peak travel times for motorists caused by the higher volume of traffic travelling one way over the single-lane bridge.

She says there will be a number of unmanned work sites on the state highway network throughout the region at which motorists need to slow down and observe the speed restrictions in place.

"Often these sites have uneven surfaces and loose material which can affect the ability to brake quickly and a steer safely away from any danger."

"Where the road has been sealed, loose stone chips can also be a hazard. It takes several days for chip to settle; driving too fast through these sites not only causes damage to vehicles but it can also ruin the new surface.

"Simply put, it’s not safe to drive through these sites faster than the temporary speed limit displayed."

She says three areas in South Canterbury where motorists need to take care and observe temporary speed limits because of road works are on State Highway 1 between Temuka and Timaru near the Dominion Road intersection; State Highway 1 north of Ashburton near the Coplands Road intersection; and State Highway 79 between Geraldine and Fairlie near the Hall Road intersection (Kakahu).

"Each of these sites are likely to be unsealed because of the recent wet weather which is forecast to continue for the next 14 days."

Motorists heading north are warned that at Waikari Creek about 850 metres of State Highway 7 is likely to be unsealed. "Sealing was planned for this week but has been delayed with the wet weather.

"The highway will be open to two lanes and it will have a good surface but motorists are also asked to take extra care travelling through the area."

If travelling to the West Coast and through Haast Pass, motorists are advised State Highway 6 remains closed overnight, from 6pm to 8am. This means the highway closes at Haast township at 5pm and Makarora at 5.30pm, re-opening again at both Haast township and Makarora at 7.30am.

Meanwhile, Ms Wright says people should ensure they are well prepared for their journeys; check their vehicles before leaving, drive with patience and avoid taking chances when turning or overtaking.


For more information please contact:


Jan McCarthy
Media Manager - Christchurch

T: 03 964 2885
M: 021 427 442
E: jan.mccarthy@nzta.govt.nz

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