Easter traffic: Long delays expected as holidaymakers escape the city

Holidaymakers getting ready to start the pre-Easter exodus from the big cities are being warned to expect delays this afternoon.

And even before the holiday traffic rush began, traffic heading north over the Auckland Harbour Bridge was delayed after a crash.

Motorways and other main arterial routes out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are expected to be congested later today as people head away for long weekend hot-spots.

And Auckland traffic could be further hindered by motorway network repairs.

The Easter weekend also coincides with the start of New Zealand being placed in the orange Covid-19 traffic light setting where various Government restrictions have been eased; including the lifting of restrictions for indoor events and no need to wear masks in bars and other hospitality venues.

NZTA has issued a series of warnings for motorists around the main centres about projected traffic flows.

The Southern Motorway heading south from Manukau to the Bombay Hills is expected to be busy between 10am-5pm as the holiday exodus from Auckland begins.

But peak traffic flow out of the city during the Easter break is expected 2pm-5pm on Good Friday, and then 10.30am-3.30pm on Saturday.

Northbound traffic over the Auckland Harbour Bridge was delayed from around 9.30am after a crash blocked the middle lane.

While the crash was cleared by about 10am, it has led to a long tail stretching back to Spaghetti Junction.

In the Wellington region, northbound traffic today was “expected to be heavy” on SH1 Kāpiti and SH2 Remutaka Hill.

In the South Island, NZTA has warned of “high traffic volumes” today on SH1 Waipara, north Canterbury.

Meanwhile, key Auckland motorway lanes will be closed from tonight while maintenance crews repair a damaged bridge joint on the Southern Motorway.

Waka Kotahi NZTA has urged motorists heading north for Easter to avoid Spaghetti Junction as all lanes on State Highway 1 between Symonds St and the SH16 link will be closed.

Regional manager Tāmaki Makaurau me Te Tai Tokerau – maintenance & operations, Jacqui Hori-Hoult said a damaged joint was found on a junction bridge during routine maintenance.

It did not pose an immediate safety risk but needed to be repaired as soon as possible, Hori-Hoult said.

“Safety is our top priority, and our teams work hard to maintain a safe and reliable transport network for our customers.

“This is a significant closure, and even with the reduced traffic volumes over Easter we need people to plan ahead and choose a different route to avoid delays.”

Hori-Hoult said signposted detours would be in place – via Wellesley St to State Highway 16 westbound, SH1 northbound and the CBD.

The Victoria Park Tunnel will remain open throughout the works.

From 7am-8pm on Friday one lane will open to allow access north on SH1 and to the Nelson St off-ramp but the agency advised motorists to avoid the area by choosing an alternative route.

The closure could be extended to 7am on Sunday and may be delayed by bad weather.

For more on long weekend traffic: https://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/holiday-journeys/easter-anzac-weekends-2022/

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