With lots of people looking to take advantage of the fine weather forecast for Waikato and Bay of Plenty this Auckland Anniversary weekend, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is asking those hitting the road to plan ahead and keep a cool head, for a safe, enjoyable journey.
Waikato and Bay of Plenty Director Regional Relationships David Speirs says people should expect more traffic on the roads, however, planning ahead can help alleviate some of the stress.
"Remember, you're on holiday, there's no need to rush.
"Where possible, it can be a good idea to set off early in the morning or late at night to avoid peak travel periods."
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has updated its online Holiday Journeys traffic prediction tool to help people plan ahead and avoid delays. The tool shows predicted traffic flow based on previous years' travel patterns.
"In the Waikato, delays are predicted on State Highway 2 between Pokeno and Maramarua, particularly heading east (toward the Coromandel Peninsula) from late morning to around 8pm Friday, and between 9.00am and 1.00pm on Saturday. Westbound (toward Pokeno), delays are expected on Monday between 11.00am and 9.00pm."
Further delays are predicted on State Highway 1 southbound between Karapiro and Tirau for much of Friday afternoon and into the evening, and again between 10.00am and 1.00pm on Saturday. Northbound, delays are expected between 3.30pm and 5pm on Sunday and between midday and 6.30pm on Monday, with traffic expected to be heaviest between 3.00pm and 5.30pm.
State Highway 25A at Tairua is expected to be busy for those travelling north on Friday afternoon and evening, and through the middle of the day on Saturday, with the heaviest traffic expected between 3.00pm and 6.30pm on Friday and between midday and 1.00pm Saturday. Southbound, delays are predicted for most of the day on Monday, with traffic expected to be heaviest between 11.00am and 5.30pm.
Three way Stop/Go traffic management will be in place as required at the one-lane Pepe Bridge in Tairua on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Monday to assist with the flow of traffic.
"In the Bay of Plenty, motorists should be prepared for heavy traffic on State Highway 29 over the Kaimai Range, particularly heading east (toward Tauranga) on Friday afternoon into the evening and Saturday morning, with the heaviest traffic expected between 4.00pm and 6.00pm Friday. Westbound (toward the Waikato) motorists should expect delays on Monday between 10.00am and 6.00pm, with traffic expected to be at its worst between 10.30am and midday.
"SH2 between Paeroa and Waihi is expected to be busy heading east (toward Waihi) on Friday between 2.00pm and 7.00pm, and from late morning to mid-afternoon Saturday. Traffic heading west (toward Paeroa, will be busy for most of Monday, with the heaviest traffic expected between 10.30am and 4.30pm.
"People should also expect delays on SH2 between Katikati and Tauranga northbound (toward Katikati) between 1.00pm and 6.00pm on Friday and Monday, and southbound (toward Tauranga) on Friday afternoon, particularly between 3.00pm and 4.00pm, and Sunday morning, through to early afternoon."
Because predicted peak times can change based on incidents, weather and even driver behaviour, motorists are encouraged to visit the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner website – journeys.nzta.govt.nz - before they leave for accurate information about current road and traffic conditions.
"More cars on the road, tired drivers and people driving on unfamiliar roads can make holiday driving stressful and risky.
"We can all take simple actions to stay safe. That means checking your car is safe before your journey, keeping your speed down, driving sober, watching for the signs of fatigue and sharing the driving."
"Congestion and delays are inevitable during peak times, however, if everyone plans ahead before leaving home, leaves plenty of time for their journey, and drives to the conditions the worst of the frustrations can be eased and everyone can concentrate on arriving safely at their destination."
Keep up to date with:journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic or phone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).