A car fire closed Auckland's Victoria Park tunnel for a short time this morning.

The State Highway 1 tunnel is a key northbound commuter route and was busy with the morning rush hour when the vehicle caught fire.

The tunnel was closed while fire crews extinguished the engine fire.

Two of the tunnel's three lanes reopened before all lanes were cleared by 9.10am.

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The New Zealand Transport Agency is still advising motorists to use the Northwestern Motorway to head to the North Shore.

Traffic quickly banked up on the highway and on key central city roads with lowered barrier arms bringing vehicles entering the tunnel to a halt.

The transport agency said there was significant delays heading north on SH1.

Fire and Emergency northern communications shift manager Paul Radden said the blaze was confined to the car's engine. Those inside the tunnel were evacuated to the emergency safety zone.

- More to come