It took commuters seven times longer than normal to get between Pokeno and Papakura after a truck jackknifed and blocked Auckland's Southern motorway this afternoon.
The truck blocked all three northbound lanes on the motorway when it jackknifed just before 2.25pm.
Data collected by the AA found at 4.30pm, the normally 12-minute trip was taking a little over an hour and a half. Travel times along this section of road didn't return to normal until about 6.30pm, the AA said.
NZTA confirmed the north-bound lanes between Papakura and Takanini reopened about 5pm, but motorists were still being warned to expect delays north from Ramarama as congestion eases.
South-bound traffic between Highbrook Drive and Takanini was slow due to rubber-necking.
The AA's data showed the journey from the CBD to Papakura was taking just under 80 minutes. At the same time last Monday, this was roughly a 40 minute trip.
Police were called at 2.25pm when the truck was blocking the entire northbound lanes between Papakura and Takanini.
Motorists were being urged to avoid the area as police warned it was expected to be "quite some time" before the truck was removed.
Photos have emerged on social media of motorists standing on the motorway while they waited.
Maxene Wells-Pollard had just met friends for lunch in Pukekohe and was travelling to her home on the North Shore when she got stuck in traffic at about 2.40pm – about 300m from when the truck jack-knifed.
She said the traffic stopped and after about 15 minutes motorists stopped their engines then doors started opening and people got out of their cars.
"There were people everywhere. Everyone was having conversations with the car beside them. There was a right little community going on.
"I said I'm standing on the southern motorway for the first and only time."
Wells-Pollard finally turned her car around about an hour later and was directed by police to travel up the Papakura on-ramp and detour via Great South Rd before returning to the motorway via Takanini.
It then took her another hour to get to Takanini before she could rejoin the southern motorway.
A skateboarder was also spotted skating back past the queues of cars in the opposite direction.
Traffic was heavily congested from Bombay, with southbound traffic also congested from Manukau because of rubber-necking, the New Zealand Transport Agency said. Great South Rd was also crawling as traffic was diverted onto it.
Motorists stuck between the Papakura off-ramp and the truck were asked to return to their cars so police could try to get people off the road.
Police opened a temporary line to clear vehicles that were stuck behind the truck and trailer for almost two hours since it jack-knifed.
The NZTA was asking motorists to leave the motorway when possible and use the Drury/ Ramarama and Great South Rd off-ramps. Delaying non-urgent travel was also recommended.
No one was injured in the crash but NZTA and the police were advising motorists avoid the area and to expect delays.
A motorist who was heading towards Drury 20 minutes after the crash said he noticed slowed traffic both ways.
"I realised there was an accident 50m ahead - a truck trailer blocking the whole lane heading in the north direction.
"The front wheels were completely turned in and the trailer was out of its usual place.
"Traffic was backed up from Papakura to Drury at this stage."
Detours are in place for northbound motorists who are being told to use the Papakura off-ramp and travel via Great South Rd.
Motorists are taking to social media to report the chaos and warning people to avoid driving anywhere in Papakura and Takanini.
"Papakura gridlocked in and out," one user posted.
"Truck crash just before Papakura is making traffic super hectic on the southern motorway. 0/10 would not recommend unless you absolutely need to travel…," another said.
Elizabeth Mills said it took her two-and-a-half hours to get out of Papakura to head south.
She said the detour was making it very difficult for the trucks who were having to make sharp left-hand turns while the motorists in the opposite direction refused to reverse to make way for the large loads.
A crane was being organised to lift the trailer from the road, a police media spokesperson said.
"We ask them to be patient while we clear the scene."
Southbound traffic was still flowing.
A breakdown after the Victoria Park Tunnel was also causing further traffic chaos.
The NZTA said the breakdown was partially blocking the left lane heading north. Traffic was heavy between Tristram Ave and Upper Harbour Highway going north.