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Auckland drivers heading north for the long weekend are being asked to use alternatives to paying for the new toll road at a roadside kiosk.

New Zealand Transport Agency regional director Wayne McDonald said the new toll road on State Highway 1 from Silverdale to Puhoi, north of the city, would not stop traffic from being heavy.

"It's a long weekend, and like any other extended break, we expect heavy traffic volumes. We're urging motorists to plan their travel and use alternative routes between Auckland and Northland to avoid delays," he said.

Mr McDonald said motorists would be better advised to pay the one-way $2 cost in advance or to use SH16 via Helensville rather than pay at the kiosks at either end of the road.

"Lining up to pay at a kiosk cancels out the time saved using the electronic toll road.

"It was designed as an electronic tolling system, which means people do not have to interrupt their journey and stop. Instead, they can realise the benefits of the faster route and increased capacity on SH1."

The toll road, constructed to help prevent queues between Waiwera and Silverdale, was opened during Auckland Anniversary weekend late last month and was at times heavily congested.

Alternatives for paying tolls include online at www.tollroad.govt.nz or by freephone on 0800 40 20 20.

Motorists don't have to set up an account and can pre-pay. The tickets are valid for 180 days, and the minimum set-up balance for accounts has been cut to $20, Mr McDonald said.

He said queues for the last long weekend of the summer would build up from tomorrow afternoon.

- NZPA