The NZ Transport Agency says state highways in Northland and Auckland will be busy during Easter as people take advantage of the last holiday weekend before the end of daylight saving and the onset of winter.
A key measure of traffic volumes during the four-day break – the Northern Gateway Toll Road – recorded almost 70,000 trips last Easter, double the number for a normal weekend.
“We’re anticipating heavy volumes again, especially as the following weekend we have to say goodbye to summer and put back our clocks an hour,” says the NZTA’s Regional Director for Auckland and Northland Stephen Town.
During the past 5 years, the number of people who were fatally or seriously injured or received minor injuries at Easter was158 in Auckland (5 fatalities, 22 seriously injured, 131 with minor injuries) and 34 in Northland (2 fatalities, 7 seriously injured. 25 with minor injuries)
“The trend in both regions shows a welcome decline in fatalities and injuries, but we need to be aware that the risk of a crash does increase when there is more traffic and congestion,” Mr Town says. “Driver distraction, speed, alcohol, fatigue and unsound vehicles – they’re all avoidable killers. We’ll be working with Police and others to keep highways safe, but there’s a lot drivers can do to protect themselves and their families.”
Mr Town says that nationally, the main faults during Warrant of Fitness tests for cars and vans include lights (26.48%), tyres (18.45%), suspension/steering (14.56%) and brakes (11.93%)
Two initiatives will help make Easter travel easier.
A new NZTA information service for drivers called OnTheMove will deliver emails about highway and driving conditions on state highways. People can join the service at www.nzta.govt.nz(external link) from Thursday, 28 March.
“OnTheMove gives people a heads up about significant incidents on the state highways they use to help them make choices about travel – perhaps delaying a journey or using an alternative route,” Mr Town says.
And for those heading away early, the NZTA encourages people to take a break from driving at the “fatigue stop” that will be open on Thursday from 2-6pm at Moirs Hill Walkway, Pohuehue Scenic Reserve, on SH1 four kilometres south of Warkworth.
Toll road drivers can avoid delays at the kiosks by going on-line at www.tollroad.govt.nz(external link) to either open an account or to pay for individual trips. The toll call centre at 0800 40 40 20 is open between 8am-8pm on Good Friday and Easter Monday but will be closed Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday.
There are two free alternative routes to the toll road: the Hibiscus Coast Highway between the SH1 Silverdale interchange and Puhoi, or rural SH16 between the Silverdale interchange and Wellsford.
The NZTA will stop maintenance work unless there is an emergency, but there will be two significant changes to driving conditions in Auckland city over the weekend
In Onehunga, the Neilson Street/Gloucester Road southbound on-ramp to SH20 (Southwestern Motorway) that is a link to Auckland International Airport will be closed. And Great North Road in Waterview will be narrowed to one lane in each direction for work linked to the Waterview Connection project.
Additional travel information is available at:-
Auckland/Northland Media Manager
NZ Transport Agency
T 09 928 8720
M 027 213 7616