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Holiday exodus causes traffic headache

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 27/01/2017

Auckland traffic woes. © Getty Images Auckland traffic woes. Motorways north and south of Auckland are expected to be busy until at least 8pm, the New Zealand Transport Agency says.

Many roads out of the city are congested, as people head away for the area's long anniversary weekend.

It is the first of two long weekends in a row for the upper North Island, with Waitangi Day observed around the country on the following Monday.

The agency's senior travel adviser, Wayne Sharplin, said drivers going north should take State Highway 16 rather than SH1, as there have been queues into Wellsford.

"It's definitely slow through Wellsford. Warkworth is not queuing back too bad, not as bad as what we've seen at other times or what we saw earlier in the day, but as more people finish work we're expecting it to be heavy through there."

Separately, in Wellington, a truck has rolled on the overbridge on SH1 near Peka Peka. The road has been closed until further notice and diversions are in place.

In Auckland, earlier this afternoon, a car caught fire on the southern motorway near Papakura, and a car and a motorbike crashed on the Harbour Bridge.

One person was taken to Auckland Hospital with moderate injuries.

It was unknown how many people were in the car that caught fire at the time and police said they were unable to provide information about how it happened.

Auckland City road policing manager Mathew Knowsley said they were gearing up for heavy congestion this evening, and had extra staff on to monitor roads leaving the city.

He encouraged people to be patient, turn off their phones and put them somewhere out of reach, wear their seatbelts, drive to the conditions and within the speed limit, and not to drink and drive.

Traffic delays in Wellington and Nelson

It is also Nelson's anniversary weekend, and police there are also urging drivers to be patient.

They had attended several crashes in the region today already, they said.

Senior Sergeant Clare Robertson said drivers should allow plenty of time for their journey, as the closure of SH1 after Kaikōura earthquake last November had diverted large volumes of traffic through alternative roads.

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