Traffic will be heavy on highways throughout Auckland and Northland during the Christmas and New Year holiday period, and the NZ Transport Agency is urging drivers to plan ahead to avoid delays and get to their destination safely.
The Transport Agency encourages people to stagger their journeys to travel outside of the peak times if possible, and to get the latest updates from the Transport Agency’s variety of real-time traffic information services.
To help people plan their journeys the Agency has produced maps shwing the busiest areas and times over the next few weeks at www.nzta.govt.nz/hotspots(external link).
Data from previous years shows that traffic is likely to be very heavy heading north between Puhoi and Warkworth on SH1 including the Hill Street intersection, and heavy between Warkworth North to Whangarei, right through from Christmas Eve (24 December) until 2 January. The busiest times of the day are generally between 9am and 3pm.
Heading south from Whangarei to Auckland, the busy period is expected to extend for longer, from 24 December until 4 January. The heaviest peaks are on January 1, 2, 3 and 4 from 2pm until 8.30pm.
We encourage people to use the alternative route of SH16 to spread the traffic across the highway network.
SH2 to Coromandel is another busy area, with traffic heaviest from January 2 until January 5 from just after midday until 8pm.
“This is one of the busiest times of the year, when people head away on holiday and to be with family and friends,” says Brett Gliddon, the Transport Agency’s Auckland and Northland Highway Manager.
“The Transport Agency understands how frustrating it can be for motorists who are faced with delays and we do everything we can to manage holiday traffic on the highway network.”
“For example the Hill Street intersection at Warkworth is often one of the busiest areas and to ensure the higher volumes are managed as smoothly as possible traffic cameras at the intersection are monitored by traffic operators at the Auckland Transport Operations Centre. The traffic light sequencing is then adjusted to allow more traffic to pass through the intersection depending on which direction the heaviest traffic flows are coming from.”
“Our highways are designed and built to accommodate average daily traffic capacities, the volumes of traffic experienced during a handful of very busy holidays each year are the exception,” says Mr Gliddon.
“Our teams will be on duty 24 hours a day seven days a week across the holiday season to monitor and manage traffic flows and will be working hard to keep people informed about traffic conditions.”
The Transport Agency also encourages people to use the its real time data about travel times, conditions on the network and information about alternative routes.
This includes approximately 140 travel time signs across the Auckland motorway network and the traffic information map on the Transport Agency website, where people can access information on traffic flows, incidents, and pictures from around 70 Auckland motorway web cameras.
The following will also help people plan their holidays:
The tables in the Hotspots [PDF, 273 KB] provide a snapshot of highway routes, dates and times where traffic congestion was particularly heavy during the Christmas and New Year holiday period for previous years. It’s likely that congestion will be similarly heavy on these dates and times this coming holiday period.