Traffic: 'Be clever' this Auckland Anniversary weekend

A mass exodus of holidaymakers is set to clog up the roads this Auckland Anniversary weekend.

Motorists are being advised to think carefully before they get behind the wheel to prevent any traffic-induced frustration.

New Zealand Transport Agency Auckland and Northland highway manager Brett Gliddon is advising travellers to avoid driving during peak times.

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"The trick is to be clever and plan your journey outside the times and routes when everyone else is on the move."

Hot spots to look out for are at the Northern Gateway Toll Road on State Highway 1, where more than 21,000 vehicles have passed through during previous anniversary weekends.

READ MORE: 'Hot and humid' weather forecast for long weekend

Mr Gliddon said drivers heading north should use State Highway 16 as an alternative route to avoid congestion around Warkworth.

State Highway 2 to Coromandel is another busy area for people heading out of town, however there is no alternative option and people are advised to drive outside busy periods.

Mr Gliddon said typically on long weekends traffic begins to build from about 10am on Friday and remains heavy throughout the day until 9pm, with the heaviest flows in the afternoon between 2pm and 8pm.

The weather plays a large part in determining the busy periods heading home on Monday.

"If it's sunny people tend to squeeze the last bit of sunshine out of the day and don't head home until mid-afternoon or late evening, if the weather's not so great people return home earlier and we see plenty of traffic between midday and the early evening."

Staying safe on the road is another issue for drivers to keep in mind when heading away.

There were two deaths in the upper part of the North Island over last year's anniversary weekend.

In the past 10 years, 23 people have died on the roads from crashes in the same area.

Last year alcohol and motorists driving too fast for the conditions caused nearly half of all crashes in Auckland.

The NZTA said delays, heat, noisy children and fatigue are all factors that can lead to crashes.

Meanwhile an extra lane on the Southern Motorway at Ellerslie is expected to help ease delays for motorists returning to the city.

The lane will be opened to traffic for the first time this weekend.

NZTA said the exact dates will be determined by the weather.

The lane opening is part of a $20 million project which also includes the upgrade of the Ellerslie Train Station.

- NZ Herald

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