The NZ Transport Agency says there will be more pressure than in previous years on sections of Auckland's Southern Motorway (State highway 1) when the annual ASB Polyfest begins later this week in Manukau.
The NZTA’s Traffic Operations Manager, Kathryn Musgrave, says the growth of the festival at the Manukau Sports Bowl, limited parking, and significant works to lay a new watermain in nearby streets will combine to put pressure on the Te Irirangi Drive interchange – the nearest motorway exit to the event.
“There will be a lot of congestion around this section of the Southern Motorway and it will be heaviest at Te Irirangi Drive. Queuing is likely back on to the motorway, which will be a risk to all drivers,” says Mrs Musgrave. “It will be an area to avoid, especially at mid-morning on all four days of the event. Delays are likely and we would advise all drivers to plan the time of their journeys or use an alternative route.
The ASB Polyfest – which starts on Wednesday (13 March) - is the largest Maori and Polynesian cultural festival of its kind in the world. Performers from almost 60 schools will be involved and spectator numbers are expected to total 90 thousand.
The NZTA will use its motorway message signs and social media like Twitter to keep people informed of conditions near the interchange.
“We will be doing everything we can to prevent any delays, and we ask for drivers to be patient. The Polyfest is a great celebration of our country’s cultural diversity and we also want it to be a safe for everyone,” says Mrs Musgrave.