Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Who Let The Dogs Out?

Holidaymakers faced traffic tangles yesterday as they departed Auckland both north and south. They found the Northern Gateway toll road and the Kopu Bridge access to the Coromandel Peninsula crazy-clogged by so many others who'd had the same idea!
Congestion at the Kopu Bridge can be understood: the replacement is still under construction (due for top-off mid-2012), so the existing 82-yr.old one-lane bridge is the only option.
However you've gotta wonder why it was bumper-to-bumper for almost the entire 7.5km Orewa-Puhoi toll road on Monday afternoon!
"Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we..."
Usual northbound travel times were doubled - not terrific when you're off on holiday and unleaded petrol is nudging $2L!
The Northern Gateway problem is that two northbound lanes merge into one before the Johnstone's Hill tunnel, then merge again with vehicles from the Orewa-Puhoi coastal road on the one northbound lane beyond that tunnel. And the solution - a $1.65 billion four-lane highway from Puhoi-Wellsford (planned for completion in 2022) - is still in 'public submissions' stage.
There is a way past though, and why more motorists don't choose it is puzzling. Just exit at Silverdale before the toll road, and take the alternative Kaipara Coast Highway route (SH16) to Wellsford! This is always heavily promoted in pre-holiday advertising. Although the road's a little more winding with few passing lanes, it's scenic, only a tad longer than SH1 (68km vs 51km) and without congestion. Motorists rejoin SH1 at Wellsford less stressed, less time taken and well ahead of the pack too.
Then again, as this snarl-up always happens Dec.27th., why not delay travelling until the 28th.? Everyone's going on holiday so why rush anyway?

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Luckily we were driving in the opposite direction, what a nightmare!