Passing lanes on a major high-crash stretch of State Highway 2 will be closed during the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

The New Zealand Transport Agency announced in a statement this morning that passing lanes at Maramarua on SH2 will be closed for safety reasons during the busy holiday travel periods.

SH2 is the main highway connection between Auckland and the Coromandel and Tauranga.

Acting system manager Ross l'Anson said the closures will make the road safer "for all road users in heavy traffic by maintaining a steady flow and preventing the risk of crashes as traffic merges at the end of the passing lane".

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For east-bound traffic the passing lane on SH2 near Mangatawhiri Road will be closed:
• Friday December 21, Midday-10pm
• Sunday, December 22, 9am-5pm
• Wednesday, December 26, 9am-5pm

For west-bound traffic, the passing lane near the Maramarua Golf Club and the Golf Road off ramp and Koheroa Road on-ramp will be closed:
• Saturday, January 5, 10am–11pm
• Sunday, January 6, 10am–11pm

"Slightly longer queues can be expected when the passing lanes are closed but there will be minimal impact to overall travel times. We ask drivers to be patient and allow extra time for their journey so that everybody gets home or to their destination safely," l'Anson said.

Reopening of the passing lanes and ramps will depend on the traffic flow. If traffic remains heavy, the closures will remain in place for longer.