Commuters are being warned of rush-hour delays on Auckland’s roads and public transport this morning, with trains cancelled, a crash slowing traffic and severe wind gusts hitting the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
There are lengthy delays on the Northern and Southern motorways due to crashes.
Train services are facing cancellations on the Eastern and Southern lines.
A crash had blocked the right northbound lane on the Southern motorway after Papakura on-ramp, causing congestion. The site had now been cleared.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency said motorists were being advised to merge with care and expect delays.
A car fire had halted traffic on State Highway 1 from Puhoi to Warkworth this morning.
The section of the motorway was temporarily closed and now all lanes had reopened.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency said commuters could expect delays to their journeys.
Auckland Transport blamed an overhead line issue at Penrose for the train chaos.
In an update, AT said no train services were running between Ōtāhuhu and Penrose.
Southern line services were only running from Papakura to Ōtāhuhu.
“Eastern Line services remain suspended until further notice,” it said.
Western line services were now running on reduced frequency and the Onehunga line was running with minor delays.
The agency said users should check its journey planner and live departures to find alternative travel options.
Earlier, Eastern line services had been suspended, and Western line services were turning around at Newmarket.
A Western line passenger travelling from Fruitvale Rd said he was told to disembark at Newmarket station at 7.20am due to cancellations associated with the outage.
He was told to catch a bus to Britomart from Broadway, where other train passengers were huddled in the cold waiting for transport into the city centre.
Motorways heavy into CBD
On the Northern Motorway, heavy traffic is stretching back to Albany after the Harbour Bridge was briefly reduced to two lanes each way as severe wind gusts hit the structure.
At 7.40am the drive from Silverdale to the CBD was taking 66 minutes - 37 minutes longer than normal - according to Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s website.
Four lanes of the bridge are now open each way but reduced speed limits remain in place, as gale-force winds gust at an expected 70-85km/h.
The bridge is under an amber alert until 11am.
Waka Kotahi warned high-sided vehicles and motorcyclists should consider waiting until conditions improved, or avoiding the bridge and using the western ring route on State Highways 16 and 18.
Mayor Wayne Brown also asked the public to drive carefully as the winds could cause road hazards.
Drivers on the Southern Motorway have also faced delays after a crash heading north near the East Tamaki Rd onramp, Waka Kotahi said.
The two right-hand lanes were initially blocked by the crash just before 7am, but it has now been cleared from the motorway.
MetService has issued a strong wind watch for Northland south of Kawakawa, Auckland including Great Barrier Island, Coromandel Peninsula and Waikato north of Huntly, because of strong southwest winds.
MetService is warning the winds will become “severe gales” climbing to 120km/h in exposed places. The watch began at 1am and lasts until 11am.
Today from Tokomaru Bay to Wairoa, the watch will be in force from 7am to 7pm.
A severe wind watch is in effect for tomorrow from 6am to 3pm for Dunedin and North Otago, and for Clutha and a portion of Southland, including Stewart Island, later in the day.
Cold front brings snow, closes Desert Rd
Snow has closed the Desert Rd (SH1) from Rangipo to Waiouru, Waka Kotahi said this morning. Drivers should allow an extra 40 minutes to take the detour.
The first of several cold fronts expected this week moved in yesterday, according to MetService meteorologist April Clark, which brought strong, cold southwesterlies and thundery showers to the country.
It also caused a plunge in temperature, with snow expected in some areas.
There were road snowfall warnings for Desert Rd (SH1), Lewis Pass (SH7), Porters Pass (SH73) and Crown Range Rd. MetService expected at least 3cm of snow to fall on these roads last night.
The cold temperatures and strong winds would be accompanied by large, southwest swells to western and eastern coasts.