6 Apr 2012

Long wait, but no fatalities so far on roads

5:03 pm on 6 April 2012

There have been long waits for some motorists to get to their holiday destinations this Easter, but so far there have been no road fatalities.

Traffic has been heavy north of Auckland and south of Christchurch on Friday.

Earlier in the day, a 1km queue at the Puhoi tunnel on State Highway 1 meant delays for people heading north out of Auckland. Police were advising people to take State Highway 16 though Helensville as an alternative.

Police say traffic is still heavy north to Wellsford on Friday evening.

In the South Island, traffic was heavy earlier in the day between Dunsandle and Rakaia as people headed for Central Otago for the Easter break. Police say the roads there are now clear.

Fine weather over much of the country has meant trouble-free driving, although weather forecasters are predicting heavy rain in the Gisborne area.

The Manawatu Gorge is closed, while slips in the Waioeka Gorge and on the Napier to Wairoa Road have traffic down to one lane on Friday.

The holiday period began at 4pm on Thursday and ends at 6am on Tuesday.

Rest stops available

Sausages and a cup of coffee are being used by State Insurance to entice travellers to drive safely and beat fatigue.

Volunteers have been staffing Easter rest stops for eight years. They encourage drivers to stop for at least 20 minutes while they have coffee or water, a sausage or an apple.

Toilets are also available at the rest stops, as well as newspapers and magazines.

The rest stops are at Putaruru and Lewis Pass on Friday and at Ruakaka, Ohakea and Ealing, south of Ashburton, on Monday.