Natalie Akoorie is a reporter at the NZ Herald based in Hamilton.

Fieldays - keeping the traffic flowing

High-tech Bluetooth 'blip trackers', a dedicated hashtag and a webpage are among the New Zealand Transport Agency's initiatives designed to help people plan and share Fieldays travels with real-time traffic information.

The measure is part of NZTA's drive to keep traffic flowing around the national agricultural expo at Mystery Creek, just south of Hamilton, which opened today and runs until Saturday.

Waikato state highways manager Kaye Clark said traffic to the biggest agricultural show in the Southern Hemisphere is expected to increase by as much as 80 per cent this week as thousands of people flock to the event.

"We always experience a significant increase in traffic volumes on State Highway 1 (SH1) and State Highway 3 (SH3) during Fieldays week as people head into Mystery Creek off State Highway 21 Airport Road," Clark said.

"Figures from last year show traffic on SH1 through Hamilton towards the Fieldays increased by around 25 per cent, SH1 past Cambridge increased by around 80 per cent, and on SH3 past Ohaupo we saw 40 per cent more traffic.

"We expect these figures to be replicated again this week, which is why it is important that people drive safe and plan ahead."

Social media users heading to Fieldays can share their travel experiences and get live travel information by using the hashtag #FieldaysTraffic.

"This hashtag will be monitored by our National Travel Information Service team who will be standing by to answer any queries and let people know about any incidents on the key routes to and from the Fieldays so they can try another road if need be," Clark said.

A network of units which use Bluetooth technology have been placed at Fieldays and key central North Island towns such as Tauranga, Rotorua, Hamilton and Cambridge.

The devices use Bluetooth technology to record actual travel times for vehicles between the location of the trackers and Mystery Creek. This information will be regularly updated.

On The Move is a free service which enables people to sign up for information about crashes, road works and driving conditions on their frequently used routes. People can sign up and add their Fieldays route to get up to the minute information.

People can also get travel information by calling the Transport Agency's free phone on 0800 4HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49), which can also be used to report any significant road issues or hazards which people may come across during their travels.

Clark said drivers can also keep an eye out for travel information on electronic message boards around the Waikato, as far north as Auckland, and in other areas such as the Bay of Plenty.

Meanwhile visitors to Fieldays can catch a jet boat service to the event near the Narrows jetty at Tamahere or helicopter in from a parking point on Tamahere Drive.

- NZ Herald

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