Auckland commuters are set to be heavily disrupted tomorrow as severe gales threaten to close the Harbour Bridge and electrical faults have shut down an entire train line.
The Auckland Harbour Bridge is likely to be closed tomorrow afternoon because of forecast 110km/h gales, says Waka Kotahi NZTA.
Meanwhile, SH1 is due to re-open this evening after a slip with 30 truckloads worth of material blocked the road as more wild weather hits Auckland.
Further south, Desert Road has been closed due to icy conditions.
A Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency spokesperson told the Herald that tomorrow the Harbour Bridge would be under a red alert from 12pm to 9pm, as wind gusts of 90 to 100km/h are forecast, possibly reaching up to 110 km/h.
Under a red alert, all lanes on the bridge are closed. However the spokesperson clarified that the bridge would only be closed if the winds exceeded 100km/h.
From 4am to 7am tomorrow, the bridge will be back under an amber alert, with wind gusts of 75 to 80km/h forecast.
Under an amber alert, speeds are reduced and some lanes on the bridge may close.
Several lanes were closed and speed reductions are in place on the Auckland Harbour Bridge as severe gales gust over the city today.
High-sided vehicles, like trucks, and light vehicles and motorbikes are being advised to detour via the Western Ring Route (SH16/18).
Auckland’s transport network will be further disrupted tomorrow with the loss of the Eastern train line and the lessened frequency of the Southern line.
AT Transport said in a statement this was due to an electrical fault between Puhinui and Ōtāhuhu.
Southern line services will operate at a reduced frequency of trains every 20 minutes, and the Eastern line is out of action completely. Crews are going to attempt to fix the fault on Monday night.
Rail replacement buses will run every 10 minutes between Manukau and Ōtāhuhu.
Scheduled bus services across Auckland will also accept train tickets as well as AT HOP cards, including the AirportLink which travels every 10 minutes from Manukau to Puhinui.
Further north, the slip in Dome Valley blocking SH1 between Warkworth and Welsford has finally been cleared after crews worked tirelessly over the weekend to clear it.
Waka Kotahi made the announcement on social media this afternoon, explaining the road will be re-opening in both directions at approximately 7pm tonight.
The crews were building a 40-metre debris wall to prevent future loose material from falling on to the road.
Jacqui Hori-Hoult, regional manager of maintenance and operations, says a huge effort from crews has meant the road is able to re-open for traffic more quickly than what was anticipated.
“Our teams worked from the early morning deep into the night, meaning the debris wall has been constructed well ahead of schedule,” Hori-Hoult said.
“With both lanes closed, we were able to get large and heavy machinery in to be able to construct the wall faster.
“There were 22 holes drilled into rock for the beams, with 500 timber inserts prepared and installed between these beams.
“We also took advantage of the road closure by cleaning drains and removing debris from the roadside, which is very difficult to do when there is live traffic.”
Although the road has re-opened, Hori-Hoult is advising drivers to adhere to the 50km/h speed limit in place and to drive with care.
Down south, Desert Road (State Highway 1) in Taupo is currently closed due to icy conditions
Motorists are advised to avoid the area and expect delays. Met Service is forecasting snow to fall over the road in the early hours of tomorrow morning before it is replaced by rain.