With Easter weekend nearing, holiday traffic is expected to be in full swing, prompting a warning for drivers before they hit the road: “Don’t get caught on the hop.”
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is urging travellers this long weekend to be prepared before they embark across the country.
Waka Kotahi regional manager for Wellington and top of the south Mark Owen said the number of cars on the region’s highways always peaks at the start and end of holiday weekends.
“Any time there’s peak traffic, there is also congestion. With that comes frustration and sometimes aggravation for road users,” Owen said.
Owen said Waka Kotahi has, where possible, suspended roadworks, and shut down maintenance and project sites to help keep traffic flowing.
However, there is a step travellers can take to reduce congestion on the roads.
The Waka Kotahi Holiday Journey Planner shows drivers when peak traffic is expected.
State Highway 2 Wairarapa is undergoing safety improvements and temporary speed limits and traffic management will remain in place throughout this project site, likely causing delays.
Drivers should also expect delays and detours on State Highway 58, Paremata, to allow emergency work to reinstate power infrastructure.
While further south, Waka Kotahi journey manager for Otago and Southland Nicole Felts said with Easter and ANZAC coming up, key routes will be busy over the next few weeks.
“Please check holiday hotspots if you are heading towards Tasman District, Queenstown Lakes District or Canterbury,” Felts said.
“The alpine passes and small towns like Murchison also have their busy patches over the Easter Weekend.
“The places likely to get congested at particular times around the South Island this Easter Weekend.”
Most road work projects will be packed up over Easter but a single lane site north of Kaikōura on SH1 will remain in place. Drivers will face a short delay at Ōhau Point where a pile drilling rig takes up a lane, controlled by traffic signals 24/7. Currently, there are up to five-minute delays at this spot, but over Easter, the delays could be up to ten minutes due to more traffic.
Due to ongoing roadworks on State Highway 1, Wheelers Hill, Marlborough, there will be stop/go traffic management with a 30km/h speed restriction in place until 6pm Thursday, April 6. Traffic delays here are likely on Thursday afternoon.
There is also a single-lane section of highway with up to five-minute delays at the Beaumont Bridge project site in Central Otago.