More than 20,000 extra vehicles are expected to hit state highways around the Bay of Plenty and Waikato this Easter weekend, with traffic predicted to triple on one key route to the Coromandel.
The NZ Transport Agency says planning ahead for your long weekend travels will help motorists stay safe and avoid delays.
"We are expecting thousands of people to hit the roads this weekend," said NZTA's Karen Boyt.
"Last Easter traffic on State Highway 25A in the Coromandel increased by 77 per cent and other roads such as State Highway 2 (SH2) increased by more than 40 per cent. State Highway 29 (SH29) over the Kaimai Range went up by almost a third when compared to a regular summer day."
"This year with the warm dry weather continuing there may be even more people out on the roads and that is going to make queues and delays inevitable at peak times.
"If everyone plans their travel in advance, and thinks about the best time to travel to avoid delays, it will ease stress and reduce the need to hurry, making for a safer and more enjoyable journey," she said.
The Transport Agency's travel team has put together maps to show the peak holiday traffic times to help people decide the best time to travel to avoid the queues.
"We would really like to thank motorists for using our previous holiday hot spot information to help plan their travel. However the hot spot predictions, which are based on previous congestion times, should be used alongside real time travel information," said Ms Boyt.
"We will have a range of technology and teams of people working throughout the Easter break to monitor traffic flows and incidents on the state highway network to provide up to the minute and accurate information on the best times to travel and less congested routes."
State highway road works will stop at 12pm on Thursday March 24 ahead of the long weekend and will not start back up again until 10am the following Tuesday.
However speed restrictions, closed road shoulders and reduced lanes will still be in place at some major construction projects and motorists are advised to take plenty of care through these areas.
TRAFFIC HOT SPOTS:
The traffic will start to build on state highways around the Bay of Plenty and Waikato in both directions from about 3pm on Thursday afternoon through to the evening as people try to make an early getaway.
It's likely to remain heavy for much of the day on Friday especially on State Highway 1 and State Highway 2, 25 and 25A to Coromandel.
"Weather will play a big role in determining the busiest peaks for people returning home again, as we saw over the Christmas holiday period on the Coromandel Peninsula but based on previous years, traffic is heaviest from mid-morning Monday and will remain busy through the day," said Mrs Boyt.
TIPS FOR PLANNING AHEAD:
Predicted peak times can change based on incidents, weather and even driver behaviour so using real time travel information is the best way to get up to date and accurate information about email notifications about road and traffic conditions. Check our Traffic and Travel pages at www.nzta.govt.nz.
Or plan ahead by signing up to www.onthemove.govt.nz to get email notifications about road and traffic conditions on the route you plan to travel.
People traveling around the Bay of Plenty can also go to www.drivelive.nz/BayofPlenty , a dedicated website that tells drivers what the current travel times are to get to key places.
Don't forget to check twitter and facebook for regular updates on delays, incidents and congestion hotspots. Those planning to use the Transport Agency Toll Roads can also make the journey even more hassle free by prepaying their tolls at www.tollroad.govt.nz
Vehicle per day data from Easter 2015 when compared to a normal summer weekday.
SH1 (Taupiri) up 23% or around 5,400 vehicles per day
SH2 (Mangatawhiri) up 43% or around 7,300 vehicles per day
SH29 (Kaimai Range) up 27% or 2,870 vehicles per day
SH25A up 77% or 3,375 vehicles per day
SH27 up 36% or 1,800 vehicles per day