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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Police are urging motorists to take extra care with a significant increase in heavy vehicle traffic on State Highway 1 between Auckland and Whangārei over the next week, starting Friday, 11 December 2020.

There will be approximately 800 additional heavy vehicle movements on this section of SH1 next week, with trucks carrying about 1200 containers from Northport to Auckland. The containers are from the ship Constantinos P, which was diverted to Northport because of delays in unloading its Christmas cargo in Auckland.

The ship, Northport’s biggest ever visitor, is currently being unloaded with the road deliveries due to start on Friday, 11 December. There will be up to 12 trucks an hour leaving Northport from 6:00AM to midnight for about seven days. There will also be empty trucks making the return journey to Northport for another load.

Waka Kotahi vehicle compliance officers, Worksafe and the Police’s Commercial Vehicle Safety Team (CVST) will be out on SH1 actively monitoring truck movements in an operation focussed on keeping everyone safe.

Senior Sergeant Mike Flatt, Team Leader for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Team, says officers will be checking that truck drivers have enough rest to ensure they drive in a safe manner.

“We know that truck drivers can work long hours and we want to ensure all freight is transported in a safe manner. Our Commercial Vehicle Safety Team officers will be focusing on ensuring truck drivers travelling between Northland and Auckland are not driving fatigued and are complying with their driving hour limits, while also checking that the trucks are roadworthy.”

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Director of Regional Relationships Steve Mutton says Waka Kotahi vehicle compliance staff will be working alongside Police CVST to monitor the extra heavy vehicle traffic and keep road users safe. Mr Mutton also urged motorists to plan ahead and be aware of the presence of more trucks on the road next week.

“Motorists can expect to see more trucks on the road, in both directions between Auckland and Northport. Our advice is to plan ahead and allow extra time for your journey,” says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Director of Regional Relationships Steve Mutton.

“We expect the roads to be busy in the lead up to Christmas and there are only a few passing lane opportunities on the route. We ask motorists to be patient and give trucks space on the road for the safety of all road users.

“There may be delays on SH1 next week, and all drivers need to factor that into their plans. Trying to ‘make up lost time’ by speeding and unsafe overtaking puts everyone using the road at risk.

“Speed is a factor in every crash. Even when it isn’t the direct cause, it can be the difference between someone walking away unharmed or being seriously injured or even killed. For everyone’s safety, please slow down. We want everybody to have safe journeys these holidays.”

Mr Mutton says Waka Kotahi roading contractors will also be busy on SH1 south of Whangarei, working to complete as much of the scheduled road resurfacing programme as possible before the holiday period.

“We urge motorists to keep to the temporary speed limits around resurfacing sites for the safety of our road crews and other road users. Keeping to the speed limit helps bed in the new seal and prevent loose chips flying up to damage vehicles and windscreens.”

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