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Auckland exodus: Motorways gridlocked as commuters flee flood-hit city

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 9 May 2023, 2:02pm

Auckland exodus: Motorways gridlocked as commuters flee flood-hit city

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 9 May 2023, 2:02pm

There are massive delays across Auckland’s flood-affected motorway network, some ferry services have been cancelled and trains from Britomart have been suspended until further notice.

The council is now urging motorists to delay travel, warning the only train services running are on the Southern and Eastern Lines between Papakura and Otahuhu and Manukau and Otahuhu.

Several buses have also been detoured due to flooding and public transport users are being asked to check the AT mobile app for updates.

“We urge Aucklanders to take extreme care when travelling, with heavy rainfall already causing surface flooding across Auckland. Please stay clear of floodwaters and don’t drive through them as this poses a serious risk to your safety.”

A state of local emergency has been declared in Auckland as flooding swamps the region as a MetService meteorologist warns the most intense rainfall is yet to come.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown, who is in Sydney, has delegated his powers to deputy mayor Desley Simpson.

Driving conditions are treacherous and the Northern Motorway is closed between Northcote Rd and Esdmonde Rd in both directions.

Streams and rivers have burst their banks in parts of the region and schools and daycares across Auckland are evacuating. State Highway 1 at Dome Valley and the Brynderwyn Hills are closed due to flooding, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says.

Auckland Transport has started to replace some ferry services with shuttles due to the weather conditions.

At 1:20 the agency said all remaining Pine Harbour Services had been cancelled for the rest of the day.

“Replacement buses will be operating from Queens Wharf at 16:00, 17:00 and 18:00. Expect delays due to heavy congestion across the network.”

Up North, the Brynderwyns have suffered another fleeting reopening as heavy downpours have forced the closure of the vital State Highway 1 link - again.

SH1 Brynderwyn Hills to Waipū and SH1 Dome Valley are now closed due to surface flooding and slips.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency said crews are closely monitoring the roads and will reassess “once safe to do so”.

Detours for light vehicles are currently in place via Mangawhai and Waipū, and for heavy vehicles via SH12 and SH14.

However, Waka Kotahi has advised people to check the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner before they head out as the situation is changing rapidly.

The closure is a blow for motorists who only on Monday last week were able to rejoice that the state highway had been reinstated.

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