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Plan for safe travel during busy Labour Weekend

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With Labour Day and the first long weekend break after winter around the corner, the NZ Transport Agency is reminding drivers to plan their travel to avoid delays and ensure safe journeys on busy highways and roads in the region.

“State highways in Northland and Auckland will be carrying a lot more traffic than on a normal weekend – the extra volumes can make driving more stressful and more risky,” says the Transport Agency’s Regional Director, Stephen Town.

Over the past five years, nine people have died and another 58 have been seriously injured in Labour Weekend crashes on Auckland and Northland roads.

“The main contributing factors in these crashes were poor handling, excessive speed and drink-driving - factors that can all be avoided,” Mr Town says.

The Transport Agency is urging drivers to plan ahead to help make their holiday travel safer:

  • Take a little time to make sure that you and your vehicles are safe before hitting the road
  • Avoid the worst peak traffic periods – Friday afternoon when holidaymakers sharing the highway with homeward-bound commuters
  • Do not drink and drive
  • Allow plenty of time, avoid the need to rush, share the driving and enjoy the journey

Mr Town says people travelling between Northland and Auckland can avoid SH1 congestion by using SH16 between Wellsford and either the Silverdale interchange on SH1 or west Auckland – a rural state highway that carries lower volumes of traffic.

People planning to use the toll road are advised to buy trips now to do so at freephone 0800 40 20 20 (a $3.70 administrative charge applies for each phone transaction) or online at www.tollroad.govt.nz(external link)  (no transaction charge applies).  The manual kiosks at the start of toll road now only accept coin payments.  

“Buying now allows people to get the best use of the toll road and avoid the need to stop nd wait in a possible queue at the kiosks,” Mr Town says

The Transport Agency’ call centre for toll payments will be closed Saturday and Sunday, but will be open Labour Monday between 8am and 8pm.

Mr Town says the Transport Agency will be working with the Police and local roading authorities to ensure people have safe journeys.

“Always expect the unexpected – particularly on our many rural roads and state highways.  It will be a busy space and people will be sharing the road with many others – pedestrians, motorcyclists, cyclists, trucks, campervans and vehicles towing boats and caravans.

“People will be driving through construction and work sites and we ask them to observe speed limits for the safety of themselves and their passengers, and for the safety of other road users.

“We want everyone to get to their holiday destinations safely, enjoy the spring break, and then return home safely,” Mr Town says.

Current highway conditions are available online or by freephone before they travel:  www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic(external link) or 0800 44 44 49 (0800 4HIGHWAYS)

People can get updates on a particularly state highway route they are planning to use at www.onthemove.govt.nz(external link)

Updates the Western Ring Route section of SH16 in Auckland are available at www.nzta.govt.nz/stayconnected(external link)

Northern Gateway Toll Road information and payment options are available at www.tollroad.govt.nz(external link)

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