Drivers spent almost 80 minutes getting from Bombay to Papakura this morning - when normally they should zip through in just 12.

At peak gridlock the average speed to travel the 15km stretch of motorway was just 11km/h this morning - the pace of an energetic jogger.

The dreaded Southern Motorway trip through Papakura, which is slow on the best of days, took five times as long as normal this morning because of a crash between a truck and a car.

The crash happened at 6.07am between Papakura and Takanini. A tow truck took more than half an hour to arrive and drivers had to merge into one lane on the already narrow section of motorway.


Data from the Automobile Association showed just after 7am the 15km trip from Mill Rd at the Bombay interchange through to Papakura peaked at almost 80 minutes. That trip typically takes 12 minutes at that time, according to the AA.

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Three hours later at 9am, the trip was still taking 18 minutes - normally at that time it takes nine minutes, the AA said.

The crash happened at 6.07am in the right lane citybound between the Papakura onramp and the Manurewa-Takanini offramp, a police spokeswoman said.

Nobody was injured but there was debris on the road and the crash brought traffic in parts of South Auckland to a standstill.

The crash was cleared from the road an hour after it happened but traffic continued crawling for another hour and commuters were warned to allow "significant extra time" in their journeys.

NZ Transport Agency cameras show traffic in the area crawling, while the Karaka onramp was reportedly completely stopped shortly after the incident.

One person tweeted they were "at a standstill on the Karaka/Papakura on ramp", adding "Auckland traffic - the gift that keeps on giving".

The stretch of motorway is already one of the slowest in Auckland at peak times thanks to years-long road works to widen the motorway.

The Southern Corridor Improvement project will eventually create three lanes in either direction from Papakura to Manukau.

Work on the $268 million project started in 2015 and was meant to finish last year but is now expected to finish at the end of 2019.

Traffic was crawling heading into Auckland from the north this morning as the roads were shrouded in fog. Photo / Alanah Eriksen
Traffic was crawling heading into Auckland from the north this morning as the roads were shrouded in fog. Photo / Alanah Eriksen

At the other end of Auckland, thick fog on the Northwestern motorway slowed traffic to a crawl for many commuters.

Herald reporter Alanah Eriksen said fog warnings were in force on the Northwestern. Visibility was minimal and traffic was "absolutely crawling" at around 8.20am, she said.

The dense fog blanketed parts of north Auckland, with One Twitter user saying there was "thick pea soup" on the upper harbour.

Breakdowns also contributed to the commuter chaos. One blocked a southbound lane on the Southern Motorway in Spaghetti Junction, and another blocked a Northern motorway lane citybound after the Upper Harbour Highway offramp.