State Highway 1 has reopened after a fatal crash on the Kapiti Coast this morning added long delays to motorists hoping to beat school holiday traffic heading out Wellington.
A motorist was killed in a truck crash north of Waikanae at about 6.30am.
State Highway 1 was closed and the New Zealand Transport Authority warned drivers using the main route north to expect major delays. Trains into the capital were earlier disrupted after debris from the wreckage was flung on to tracks.
The NZTA said SH1 beween Te Moana and Peka Peka Roads would remain closed in both directions while police investigated the crash and contractors cleared the crash scene.
"We are aware that this is an important route for many motorists and we are working to get the road open as soon as we can," said regional performance manager Mark Owen.
2.05PM UPDATE - #SH1 Waikanae is now OPEN.
Allow for extra time while congestion eases & expect delays as school holidays start today. ^MN— NZTA Wellington (@NZTAWgtn) September 23, 2016
Emergency services remained at the crash scene.
A detour was put in place, adding at least 30 minutes to the journey in and out of the capital.
Waikanae residents reported heavy trucks with big loads on small suburban roads that wouldn't normally see this level of traffic.
Frustrated motorists were asked not to take shortcuts.
"We ask that motorists stick to the signposted detour route as this is the most efficient alternative route to get the volume of traffic through that would normally travel on State Highway 1," said Owen.
The authority said the detour route was suitable for both heavy and light vehicles.
Police said the driver of the car had died at the scene and the driver of the truck had minor injuries.
A police spokeswoman said shattered fragments have now been moved off the train tracks and trains could now go through the area but at a severely reduced speed.
The serious crash unit is investigating the crash.