Waikato motorists are being asked to help make their Easter journeys safer and more enjoyable by using the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency holiday journey planner to avoid delays.
The tool shows predicted traffic conditions for popular routes in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and further afield, during the Easter period, based on travel patterns from previous years.
Waikato system manager Cara Lauder says with the country in alert level 4 lockdown during Easter last year, Waka Kotahi is predicting roads will be very busy this long weekend, as holiday makers make the most of the chance to travel.
"Please be patient when driving this Easter so everyone can relax and enjoy their holiday.
"In the Waikato, delays are predicted on SH2 between Pokeno and Maramarua, particularly heading east (toward the Coromandel Peninsula) for much of the day on Thursday and Friday, and on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
"Westbound (toward Pokeno), the worst delays are expected on Sunday afternoon and into the evening, and for much of the day on Monday."
Further delays are predicted on SH1, both north and south between Tirau and Karapiro throughout the weekend, particularly southbound on Thursday and Friday.
SH25 is expected to be busy at Tairua, with the heaviest traffic expected heading north on Thursday between 1.30pm and 8.45pm, and Friday and Saturday through the middle of the day. Southbound, delays are predicted to be heaviest between 12.15pm and 4.15pm on Sunday and 9.15am and 11.30am on Monday.
Three-way stop/go traffic management will be in place at the one-lane Pepe Bridge in Tairua on Thursday, Friday and Monday to assist traffic flow.
Because predicted travel times can change based on traffic incidents, weather, driver behaviour or changes in Covid-19 alert levels, motorists are encouraged to visit the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner website before they travel for real-time travel information, traffic cameras, and updates on delays, roadworks and road closures.
"Congestion and delays are inevitable in peak times, but if everyone leaves plenty of time for their journey, drives to the conditions and plans ahead before leaving home, there will be less frustration and everyone can concentrate on arriving safely at their destination," Lauder says.
"Allow plenty of time. You're on holiday, there's no need to rush."
Lauder says there are simple things we can all do to help keep everyone on the roads safe.
"Check your vehicle is safe to drive. Check your tyres, wipers, lights and indicators, and ensure you have a valid Warrant of Fitness before you leave.
"Drive to the conditions - whether it's the weather, the road you're on, the time of day or the volume of traffic on the roads.
"Keep a safe following distance from vehicles in front so you can stop safely, and take regular breaks to stay alert."
Lauder also encourages people to keep track of where they're going with the NZ Covid Tracer app and to check the Covid-19 website for information on alert levels and travel before you head off on holiday. Click here.
"We're asking everyone to do their part to help ensure a safe Easter weekend, both on and off the road."
• For NZTA traffic updates click here.