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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

People (and bunnies) are being encouraged not to put all their Easter eggs in one basket this long weekend by planning ahead with the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency holiday journey planner to avoid delays on some of the Central North Island’s busiest routes for holiday traffic.

The tool shows eggs-pected traffic conditions for popular routes in the Central North Island and further afield during the Easter period, based on travel patterns from previous years, so people aren’t left scrambling.

Holiday Journey Planner tool(external link)

Regional Manager Maintenance and Operations Jaclyn Hankin says with the Easter holidays and the Anzac Day long weekend back-to-back this year, Waka Kotahi is expecting that roads will be very busy over the Easter weekend, as many holiday makers make the most of an extended break and take the chance to travel.

“Please be patient when driving this Easter so every bunny can relax and enjoy their holiday.

“In the Central North Island, delays are predicted on State Highway 3 over Mt Messenger, particularly heading north toward the Waikato region late Thursday afternoon and for much of the day on Friday. Saturday and Sunday are expected to be relatively free flowing, with delays again mid to late Monday afternoon.

“For southbound traffic, heading toward New Plymouth, delays are expected from mid-morning on Friday through to around 1.30pm, and from 10.30am to 12.30pm on Monday.

“In Manawatū-Whanganui, State Highway 2 Norsewood between Hastings and Woodville is expected to be busy for southbound traffic between 10.30am and 3.30pm on Friday, 10.30am and 2pm on Saturday, and then again between 10.30am and 3.30pm on Monday. Northbound travellers should expect delays between 10am and 3.30pm on Monday.”

Elsewhere in the Central North Island, road resurfacing improvement works continue on State Highway 2 ay Bayview, north of Napier. People can expect an uneven road surface and temporary speed restrictions over the long weekend.

This work was expected to be completed in late March but has been delayed due to the impacts of the current Omicron outbreak and the significant March weather event in the Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti regions. Work is now expected to be complete by the end of this month.

With more rain and wind predicted for the Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay regions from this evening, as ex-tropical cyclone Fili makes landfall, Ms Hankin says this could have a significant impact on the already fragile local state highway network leading into the Easter holiday weekend.

Media release: Cyclone Fili: More rain and wind for Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay state highways

While State Highway 35 reopened between Tokomaru Bay and Te Puia Springs last week, following last month’s weather event it is only open between 7am and 7pm so people need to time their travel for between these hours.

Media release: Epic effort sees final stretch of SH35 reopen from tomorrow

The road also remains single lane only in some places, with sections of unsealed road, signs, cones and temporary speed limits, so people need to be eggs-pecially careful.

“Allow additional time for your journeys, adhere to the relevant speed limits and follow all directions of traffic management staff, to help keep everyone safe.”  

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 – for real-time travel information, traffic cameras, and updates on delays, roadworks and road closures before they bounce.

Journey Planner(external link)

“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,” Ms Hankin says.

“Allow plenty of time. You’re on holiday, there’s no need to rush.”

Ms Hankin says there are simple things we can all do to help keep everyone on the roads eggs-tra safe.

“Check 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 from vehicles in front so you can stop safely, and take regular breaks to stay alert – holiday travel can be eggs-hausting!”

“We’re asking everyone to do their part to help ensure a hoppy and safe Easter weekend.”