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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

With lots of people keen to make the most of the last long weekend for a few months, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is sharing its top ‘trip hack’ to make travel safer and more enjoyable for Waikato and Bay of Plenty motorists this Queen’s Birthday weekend.

And it’s a simple one. Plan ahead. 

The Waka Kotahi holiday journey planner(external link) allows motorists to plan ahead and avoid delays. It shows predicted traffic conditions for popular routes in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and further afield, over the Queen’s Birthday period, based on travel patterns from previous years. 

Waikato and Bay of Plenty Director Regional Relationships David Speirs says the holiday journey planner makes it easy to avoid the worst traffic by travelling outside the times where our roads are predicted to be busiest.    

“In the Waikato, delays are predicted on State Highway 2 between Pokeno and Maramarua eastbound (toward the Coromandel Peninsula) on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Westbound (toward Pokeno), delays are expected between 11am and 7.30pm on Monday.” 

Delays are also predicted on State Highway 1, both north and south, between Tirau and Karapiro throughout the weekend, particularly northbound on Friday evening and Saturday morning. 

State Highway 25 is expected to be busy at Tairua, with the heaviest traffic expected heading south between 9.30am and 5.15pm on Monday. Northbound traffic should expect moderate delays on Friday afternoon into the early evening and on Saturday between 11.15am and 1.15pm. 

“In the Bay of Plenty, motorists should be prepared for heavy traffic on State Highway 29 over the Kaimai Ranges heading east (toward Tauranga) between 2.30pm and 6.30pm on Friday. Westbound (toward the Waikato), motorists can expect moderate delays on Friday afternoon and for much of the day on Monday. 

“SH2 between Paeroa and Waihi is expected to be busy heading east (toward Waihi) on Friday afternoon, and through the middle of the day on Saturday. Westbound (toward Paeroa) traffic should expect the worst delays between 10.30am and 4pm on Monday. 

“Motorists should also expect delays on SH2 between Katikati and Tauranga for much of the weekend, with traffic heaviest northbound between 1.30pm and 7pm on Friday and southbound for a short period of time from 3pm, also on Friday.” 

Because predicted travel times can change based on traffic incidents, weather, driver behaviour or changes in COVID-19 alert levels, motorists are encouraged to visit the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner website – journeys.nzta.govt.nz(external link) – before they travel for real-time travel information, traffic cameras, and updates on delays, roadworks and road closures. 

Mr Speirs says its important motorists to drive to the conditions, particularly with the change in seasons and more people on the road, driving in unfamiliar environments. 

“Winter weather means roads could be icy, wet, snowbound or closed. Check the weather forecast before you leave and, if the weather is poor, consider if you really need to travel. 

“If you are travelling, make sure your vehicle is safe to drive. Check your tyres, wipers, lights and indicators, and ensure you have a valid Warrant of Fitness before you leave. 

“Drive to the conditions – whether it’s the weather, the road you’re on, the time of day or the volume of traffic on the roads. Keep a safe following distance and if the roads are wet and icy, drive slower than you normally would.” 

Mr Speirs also encouraged motorists to allow plenty of time and take regular breaks to stay alert. 

“Congestion and delays are inevitable in peak times, but if everyone leaves plenty of time for their journey, drives to the conditions and plans ahead before leaving home, there will be less frustration and everyone can concentrate on arriving safely at their destination.”

Waka Kotahi thanks motorists for their patience.

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