Motorists heading out of Wellington for Christmas and the summer holidays today should expect more traffic and delays after significant congestion across the region on Tuesday.
Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency is advising people to use its online holiday journey hotspots tool to work out when and where delays are expected across the entire State Highway network.
For Christmas Eve, it predicts traffic northbound on the Kāpiti Coast on State Highway 1, between Peka Peka and Ōtaki, will begin to get busy from 9 am and remain busy until 7.30 pm.
Southbound, it will be busy between 11 am and 5 pm.
State Highway 2 northbound on Remutaka Hill between Wellington and Featherston will be busy from midday until 3.30 pm.
An exodus of vehicles from the capital on Tuesday, coupled with a crash, resulted in heavy congestion and gridlock in some areas throughout the day, with some motorists reporting moving just 2 kilometers in one hour.
Traffic didn’t begin to ease until about 6.30 pm.
A crash across both lanes on SH1 near Ōtaki caused significant delays and led police to ask drivers to avoid the area unless it was urgent.
One motorist said it took two hours to get from the CBD to Paraparaumu, with one hour spent in crawling traffic between Plimmerton roundabout and Pukerua Bay – a stretch of road which usually takes less than five minutes.
“Everybody was well-behaved though, very patient, calm, and taking it in their stride,” she said.
Another motorist, Liz Hay, said she left Plimmerton roundabout about 12.45 pm. By 2 pm they were still “well south of Ōtaki”.
“We’re from the South Island and have never experienced anything like it. There are often sections where we don’t move at all.”
Greg Halford was also caught in the congestion and said an hour and 45 minutes after leaving Wellington they were still 10km out of Ōtaki.
CHRISTMAS EVE CAPITAL CRASHES
There have been two crashes across Wellington so far on Christmas Eve, as of 6.30 am.
In the first, a person received moderate injuries after their car crashed into a power pole on Hampshire St in Cannons Creek, Porirua, about 5.50 am.
The power pole was down across the road and police were in attendance as of 6.20 am, assisting with traffic control. The driver received moderate injuries.
The car would be towed, police said.
In the second crash, a car hit a barrier on Cuba St in Alicetown, Lower Hutt, just after 6 am. There were no injuries or road blockages in that crash.