Easter traffic eases as long weekend draws to close

By Nicole Barratt

Be calm and be nice to your fellow drivers as the roads fill up with people returning after the Easter holiday. Photo / Sam Crossman
Be calm and be nice to your fellow drivers as the roads fill up with people returning after the Easter holiday. Photo / Sam Crossman

Traffic updates:

7.55pm: Traffic moving more freely across country as NZTA predicted. Northbound on SH 1 Takanini South of Auckland is clearer. Levin through to Otaki is also mainly clear of traffic now southbound on SH1. Raumati SH 1 remains congested due to crash.

7.15pm: NZTA say a crash in Paraparaumu south of SH 1 Raumati is partially blocking lanes near Waterfall Rd. Emergency services on site. A police spokeswoman said a car and a truck had collided, but those involved had only minor injuries.


7.00pm: Traffic easing northbound Drury to Takanini. Traffic also easing northbound in Waikato from Te Kuwhata to Hampton Downs. NZTA report it is currently taking 45mins from Levin to Peka Peka.

One person has critical injuries after a crash in Rotorua. St John ambulance staff were called to the scene in Victoria around 6.30pm. St John said one person had been taken to Rotorua Hospital in a critical condition.

6.30pm: Northbound traffic on the Southern Motorway heading into Auckland remains heavy. Southbound traffic on SH1 from Otaki to Levin also still congested. In north Canterbury traffic is moving slow on Waipara Flat Rd just before SH1.

5.45pm: NZTA spokeswoman Sarah Azam said exact traffic flows were difficult to predict, but looking at hotspots on their site, traffic was "likely to be heavy through [to] about 8 tonight". Based on previous years, traffic flows should now be easing, Azam said. She encouraged travellers to allow plenty of time for their journey and to remain patient.

5.30pm: Waikato Expressway congested both directions just before and heading out of Rangiriri. NZTA also warned travellers heading to Blondie and Cyndi Lauper tonight at Vector Arena to expect delays. The pair are expected on stage at 7.45pm.

5.15pm: Levin through to Otaki congested southbound on SH1. Traffic moving very slow.

5.00pm: A person is trapped after rolling their car down a bank near Taupo. A police spokeswoman said they had arrived at the scene on Tutukau Rd off SH1, but were having difficulty accessing the car. Fire and ambulance are on their way to the scene.

4.55 pm: Delays remain northbound SH1 Takanini northbound, NZTA warning drivers to expect congestion until 8.30pm.

4.45pm: Traffic moving slow SH2 Maramarua westbound near Mangatawhiri, NZTA say expect delays until about 9:30pm.

4.40pm: SH1 Takanini northbound experiencing heavy congestion.

4.30pm: SH1 Huntly to Taupiri both directions experiencing delays.

• ​4pm: Southbound traffic in Otaki SH1, Wellington backing up. SH1 Takanini also slow northbound.

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The end of Easter weekend brings with it a steady stream of holidaymakers making their way home after the break.

NZ Transport Agency Auckland and Northland have warned drivers of traffic hotspots and urged Kiwis to keep level-headed on the roads.

"Keep your cool. Holiday driving can be frustrating with busy roads and often slower, sightseeing travellers."

To stay in control and avoid accidents, keep left unless passing, give cyclists plenty of space, watch for horses on country roads and don't be provoked by other drivers' aggressive behaviour, NZTA says.

The organisation has compiled a list of traffic hotspots, the times shown indicate the busiest periods based on previous years' travel patterns.

In Auckland, State Highway 1 Takanini south of Auckland is estimated to be busy up until 8.30pm going north.

SH2 Maramarua, east of SH1/SH2 interchange, is looking heaviest heading west from noon to 9.30pm.


Traffic is also expected to be heavy until 7.30pm driving south on SH1 between Puhoi and Wellsford.

Heading west on SH2 between Paeroa and Tauranga, traffic was expected to be busy until 4.30pm.

Police also encouraged holidaymakers to drive safely today.

"If you're heading home after the break, please drive to the conditions. We want to make sure everyone gets home safely."

The statement on their Facebook page said with bad weather throughout the weekend and increased traffic, travellers need to be patient and considerate of other drivers.

"Make sure everyone is buckled up and you're not using your cellphone while driving."

The Easter holiday road toll currently stands at two.

On Sunday Conor Drake, 21, died on the Riverton-Wallacetown Highway at Oporo, after a 4WD and a tanker collided at 7.50am.

A pedestrian also died in Ruatoria on Saturday after being struck by a car near Gisborne.

Nelson Hari was found on the side of Tapuaeroa Rd at Ruatoria just before 1am.

Another man died during a motorcycle race in the Canterbury town of Methven on Saturday, but his death was not counted as part of the holiday road toll as the tragedy occurred during a race.

The official Easter road toll period began at 4pm on Thursday and will end at 6am on Tuesday.

- NZ Herald

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