Holidaymakers planning to use the Northern Gateway Toll Road should buy their tolls online before travelling to avoid delays, the NZ Transport Agency says.
NZTA regional director for Auckland and Northland Stephen Town said that on average, the number of vehicles using the toll road Monday to Friday in November totalled 70,000. By comparison, trips in the week leading up to Christmas are expected to reach more than 84,000, with the week after New Year's getting as high as 101,000 trips.
"State Highway 1, including the toll road, is an extremely busy route between Auckland and Northland during the Christmas holidays and people can reduce their chances of being held up if they pay their tolls before leaving home,'' Mr Town said.
"The toll road was designed and built so that people have the choice of not having to stop and queue to pay at the manual kiosks.''
The NZTA will have manual kiosks operating at the BP service station at Silverdale for those driving north, and two for southbound drivers at Puhoi. The northbound kiosks handled up to 1200 transactions a day last Christmas and the southbound ones up to 1000 transactions.
"Queuing is likely to occur at the kiosks and depending on the time of day, there could be long waits before it is your turn,'' Mr Town said.
Toll charges are $4 per trip for heavy vehicles, and $2 for light vehicles, cars and motorcycles.
People have the choice on-line of buying a single of multiple trips valid for six months.
Drivers have up to five days after using the toll road to pay.
"But remember, if you are away for more than five days you will need to pay before you travel or ensure you can pay for your tolls online while you are away.''
The NZTA has two alternative free routes for people who do not want to use the toll road. One is along the Hibiscus Coast Highway between Puhoi, Orewa and the Silverdale interchange on SH1, and the other is rural SH16 between Auckland and Wellsford.