Preparing to head away this Queen’s Birthday Weekend? Read this first.
“This is the last long weekend before winter really sets in, many people take the opportunity to head up the coast or over the hill to take a break, and visit friends and family,” Mark Owen, regional performance manager, NZ Transport Agency says.
“While there may be less traffic than over the summer long weekends, when everyone heads away at the same time, it can cause congestion. This why we recommend checking out our ‘hotspot’ information before you travel. This information helps people decide the best time to travel to avoid peak holiday traffic.”
Based on previous year’s data for Queen’s Birthday Weekend, the Transport Agency is predicting that the heaviest time for Wellington traffic over the long weekend will be northbound along the Kapiti coast between 1.30pm – 6.00pm on Friday 3 June, and between 10.00am and noon on Saturday 4 June. On Monday 6 June traffic is predicated to be heaviest southbound between 1.30pm and 5.00pm.
Mr Owen recommends that people go online to check how traffic is flowing as predicted peak times can change based on incidents, weather and changes in expected driver travel patterns.
“Going online to plan your journey before getting on the road reduces the chance of experiencing delays during high traffic flows on the highway. Our online real time highway information service will tell you whether there are any travel warnings or closures ahead. You can also check out the cameras to see how traffic is moving in and out of the city.” Mr Owen says.
He says people should plan their journeys well in advance, drive with patience and avoid taking chances when turning or overtaking.
“Driving with courtesy can keep traffic flowing smoothly and helps ensure the roads remain safe. Motorists can also have a safer and smoother journey if they follow the speed signs, focus on the road, minimise lane changes, and merge like a zip.”
“Before each long weekend we consider the best way to keep traffic flowing. For this weekend as we anticipate there will be less traffic than summer long weekends, we feel it will be best for traffic free flow north of Paraparaumu. This means we will be keeping all passing lanes open northbound on State Highway 1 on Friday and Saturday,” Mr Owen says.
“For Monday 6 June, as people head back into Wellington, we will be closing southbound passing lanes at Forest Lakes. When traffic is building up, closing passing lanes during holiday peaks actually means more consistent traffic flows and it’s safer for everyone,” Mr Owen says.
“Our Transport Operations Centre will be closely monitoring Monday’s traffic back into Wellington, and if necessary we’ll put in place diversions for local traffic at the Otaki roundabout to help manage the traffic flow back into Wellington and ensure that everyone’s journey home is smoother.”
Due to on-going work on the Mackays to Peka Peka expressway, a ‘tidal flow’ system will operate along the Raumati Straights meaning that there will be two lanes open northbound and one southbound on for the afternoon of Friday 3 June, and again on Saturday 4 June. For the rest of the weekend, there will be two lanes open southbound.
For people staying in Wellington over the weekend, crews will be working at night on the Smart Motorway between Thorndon and Ngauranga.
“Driving conditions can be challenging during winter and weather events can be unpredictable, so remember to keep safe and drive to the conditions, look out for changes in traffic, road and weather conditions, and reduce your speed accordingly,” Mr Owen says.