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Traffic jams, speed limits and a new Expressway

Screenshot of Waka Kotahi saying they will announce when the new Expressway will open.

The summer holidays are just about upon us and this year it’s all about the roads.

Traffic jams as usual?

Waka Kotahi have produced their usual traffic forecast for the peak Christmas period — visit Summer holidays 2022:

The times shown are predictions based on previous years’ travel patterns at the busiest times, and are subject to change based on weather and other factors.

When we look at traffic through Ōhau and between Pekapeka and Ōtaki we can see that broadly speaking, if you want to enjoy a free-flowing drive between Thursday 22 December and Sunday 08 January then try to pass through those areas before 8 or 9 in the morning or after about 5 pm. Also just hope there aren’t any bad accidents that close the road for hours.

Charts showing predicted busy times on the roads.

New speed limits

The charts above are based on previous years. As of this week,

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is implementing new safer speed limits on SH1 and SH57… following public consultation on both roads. This is part of New Zealand’s Road to Zero strategy which aims to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.

Not very detailed map showing the affected areas.

From roughly Forest Lakes (by the look of the map) through to about Ōhau will now all officially be 80 Kph. The official text says:

From 150m south of Muhunoa East Road to 150m north of Waikawa Beach Road


From 180m south of the intersection with the railway underpass road linking to Honi Taipua Street to 380m west of Pukehou Overbridge

There are also speed reductions between Ōhau and Shannon.

New Expressway

Waka Kotahi have advised that they plan to announce soon when the new Expressway will open. On 14 December 2022 they wrote:

We’ll soon announce when the Peka Peka to Ōtaki expressway north of Wellington will open, and it’ll be a game-changer…

So what will the roads be like over Christmas?

The combination of forecast traffic based on previous years, changed speed limits and a new Expressway mean it’s anybody guess what traffic will be like on the roads leading to Waikawa Beach Road.

One invaluable resource though is the Traffic Updates - Horowhenua Kapiti Wellington | Facebook page. Kelly Fox’s updates provide reliable, helpful and prompt information. Even if, like me, you dislike Facebook, it’s worth having an account for that page alone. Just be careful how many comments you read…

Take it easy, be prepared, bring water and snacks in the car. And if there is a hold up in getting to the beach, remember there’s a brand new toilet block in Hank Edwards Reserve for quick relief!

This item was updated on 16 December 2022 19:51:56