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Plan your Christmas journey to Northland

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Holidaymakers heading to Northland over Christmas are advised there are several construction sites on State Highway 1 that may cause congestion and affect journey times.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Northland System Manager Jacqui Hori-Hoult says construction crews won’t be working over the Christmas break but the temporary speed limits through construction sites will remain in place.

“Road works cease from midday on Thursday 19 December and start again on Monday 6 January.  Temporary speed restrictions will remain in place due to the narrower lanes, road cones and barriers throughout our work sites.

The one exception is the Brynderwyn Hills where the temporary speed limit of 30km/hr will be returned to 80km/h over Christmas and New Year. The northbound passing lane, however, will remain closed until the retaining wall repair works are completed in March.

SH1 construction sites and temporary speed limits heading north from Auckland:  

  • Puhoi to Warkworth – as vehicles exit the Johnstone Hills tunnel there is a short section of 60km/hr then 80km/hr until north of the Pūhoi turn off
  • SH1 Dome Valley safety improvements – two locations, just north of Warkworth and further north before Wayby Valley Road. The speed limit is reduced to 70km/hr and there are metal barriers along the roadside.
  • SH1 Brynderwyn Hills – retaining wall repair on the southern side. The road is reduced to one lane in each direction and the northbound passing lane is closed.
  • SH1 Loop Road safety improvement– metal barriers and 50km/hr speed limit through the site area, reducing to 30km/hr over a section of temporary road.
  • SH1 Tarewa Road improvements– road re-alignment has state highway traffic using the northbound lanes and a 50km/h speed limit.

Elsewhere in Northland, the Transport Agency’s road resurfacing programme has completed 85 lane kilometres of state highway before Christmas. All resealed roads will be line marked and without speed restrictions over the holiday period.

Ms Hori-Hoult says it’s important that road users are patient and observe speed limits.

“We want everyone to arrive safely at their destinations. We’re making the roads better and safer for everyone, but we need motorists to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journeys.”

Use the Transport Agency’s journey planner which shows predicted traffic flow across popular journeys based on travel patterns from previous years. It can be found at www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/holiday-journeys/summer-holidays-2019(external link)

There are a number of travel day options ahead of Christmas Day next Wednesday. The holiday journeys site shows the busiest time heading north from Auckland is likely to be Friday from Midday and 7pm between Puhoi and Warkworth. For the following three days it’s busiest from about 10am through till 4pm.

Heading south out of Auckland, the heaviest traffic at Takanini is expected to from Midday till 7pm on Friday and 10am to 5pm on Saturday. 

Because predicted peak times can change based on incidents, weather and even driver behaviour we suggest that you check www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic-and-travel-information (external link)before you leave for accurate information about current road and traffic conditions.

When driving this summer, take care to

  • Drive to the conditions, whether it’s the weather, the time of day or amount of traffic
  • Take regular breaks to stay alert and ensure fatigue doesn’t affect your driving
  • Keep a safe following distance from vehicles in front so you can stop safely   
  • Be patient - overtaking is unlikely to make a significant difference to your journey time due to the amount of traffic expected over the weekend.
  • Allow plenty of time, remember you are on holiday and avoid the need to rush
  • Check your car is in good “health” before you head off.

For more summer driving tips, see nzta.govt.nz/safety/driving-safely/driving-in-the-holidays(external link)

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