Wedding bells still rang

By Matthew Theunissen, Sophie Ryan

Cycling celebrant Aaron Bloomfield.
Cycling celebrant Aaron Bloomfield.

The bride is supposed to be late - not the celebrant.

And Aaron Bloomfield was determined Auckland's traffic gridlock wouldn't stop him marrying Jared and Aimee Evans yesterday - even if it meant a frantic bike ride and more than an hour's delay.

"I thought I'd be fine getting down ... but I couldn't even get out of my garage," Bloomfield told the Herald on Sunday.

It should have been a simple drive from Bloomfield's Beaumont St, St Mary's Bay, home to the wedding at Penthouse 64 at the Viaduct.

But an accident that closed the Harbour Bridge brought Auckland to a grinding halt for four hours.

Bloomfield tried to pull his car out into the traffic.

"Nobody could let me in because cars were backed up nose-to-tail. A window was down in one of the cars and I asked how long he had been there for and he said 'a couple of hours'."

Determined that the big day would go ahead, Bloomfield hopped on his bike and cycled through Wynyard Quarter in his suit and bow tie.

"I made it ... but as it turned out there were a whole lot of guests that were late so we had to push it back an hour."

He said there were more than a few nerves at the wedding, including the bride's mother who was "a nervous wreck".

"I spoke to her and she started crying. And the bride was just holding it together.

"But the groom was fine - the groom's always fine because they just get to drink a couple of beers before the ceremony and say hi to people."

The wedding got back on track and vows were exchanged about an hour and 20 minutes late.

The couple, who were partying into the night, were delighted that the ceremony had gone ahead.

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Meanwhile, three motorcyclists were in hospital after the accident which clogged up the roads.

At its peak, the tail of the traffic jam on State Highway 1 stretched from the base of the bridge to Otahuhu and had a paralysing knock-on effect around the city.

Traffic on the Northwestern Motorway was heavy as motorists diverted trips they'd usually take on State Highway 1 to avoid the snarl up.

Ewart Barnsley, from the Transport Agency, said traffic on the motorways was heavier than normal with several events in town and Christmas shopping in full swing.

North Shore resident Jillian Ewart said her usual 20-minute journey home to Mairangi Bay from Ponsonby took an hour and 15 minutes.

"It's just ridiculous that they're spending so much money on the rails going south ... if it had been a really major event [the Harbour Bridge] would have been out for days not hours."

Labour spokesman for transport Phil Twyford said the traffic jam caused by the crash showed the lack of resilience in Auckland's transport system.

North Shore man Brendan Thompson said it took him about four hours to drive from Sylvia Park to Albany - with three unhappy children in the car.

"I can't believe that one accident on a bridge can stop a city. You'd like to believe that the country's major city could get the traffic flowing quicker than that."

- Herald on Sunday

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