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Auckland Transport Media Release - Monday 13 February 2023

Auckland Transport Media Release - Monday 13 February 2023

Auckland Transport Media Release

Monday 13 February 2023  (Received 8.40am)

Auckland’s local road network coping well – no significant closures overnight

Auckland’s local road network is coping well with no significant road closures overnight as ex-Cyclone Gabrielle nears, however train services remain suspended across Auckland and there are substantial changes to ferry timetables, Auckland Transport says.

Scheduled bus services are running across the region, but there will be some delays, detours and cancellations across the network depending on weather conditions today. For schools which are open we have been working to provide school bus services as usual.

Auckland Transport’s Executive General Manager Safety Stacey van der Putten says although conditions seem more calm this morning, it’s important Aucklanders are vigilant with strong winds and heavy rain expected later today.

“With a large number of schools closed and many employers asking staff to work from home we’re seeing significantly lower traffic volumes across Auckland this morning,” Ms van der Putten says.

“We’re asking Aucklanders to continue following our advice to stay home if possible, and to take extreme care if they do need to travel.

“If Aucklanders are needing to use public transport today we’re asking them to check for the latest updates before they leave because there is currently a network-wide rail closure in place, along with widespread ferry cancellations and disruptions to some of our bus services.

“We’re asking Aucklanders for their ongoing patience as we work to restore public transport services when it safe to do so.”

Although the Auckland Harbour Bridge is currently open, it’s possible that Waka Kotahi will close the bridge again today if wind speeds approach the safety thresholds for the bridge.

If the Harbour Bridge does close we have a plan in place to detour our North Shore bus services, just like we did yesterday,” Ms van der Putten says.

“Make sure you have a plan to get home safely if you do need to travel across the Waitematā Harbour, because the bridge may need to close again at short notice.”

Auckland Transport has been working closely with road maintenance contractors to ensure they are on standby and ready to respond if there are significant impacts on the road network from ex-Cyclone Gabrielle.

Our contractors will have more than 600 team members available to respond later today when winds and rain levels are expected to rise, and crews have also been asked to secure their worksites, including road cones and all signage.

KiwiRail, the rail track owner, has a network-wide rail closure in place until at least 3pm today. Rail replacement buses are not currently available other than those already in place on the Onehunga Line and Southern Line between Otahuhu and Newmarket. People who need to travel will need to use AT’s regular scheduled bus services. Auckland Transport is working to source some buses for rail replacement services if the rail closure is extended beyond 3pm today.

For information and updates please use the following:

  • For updates on the overall transport network and travel advice visit the AT website at at.govt.nz/weatherwatch.
  • For detailed public transport travel information and journey planning – visit the AT Mobile app and Journey Planner

AT’s ongoing advice for Aucklanders ahead of Cyclone Gabrielle:

  • Consider whether your travel today and on Tuesday is necessary and plan ahead your full return journey – there is a possibility the Harbour Bridge will need to close again in coming days, so consider avoiding heading over the bridge unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • Check the AT website at www.at.govt.nz/weatherwatch for regular updates on road closures and public transport and use the AT Mobile app or Journey Planner for planning you public transport journey. Travel alerts are also available at www.twitter.com/AT_TravelAlerts.
  • Be prepared for road closures. Specific areas to avoid should flooding occur are the Wairau Valley, Tamaki Drive, Fanshawe St around Victoria Park and Fred Thomas Drive. There are many more and these will be available on our website.
  • The harbourmaster has also issued an alert to all mariners to check their vessels and address any issues in preparation for the arrival of the cyclone.
  • Our public transport network will continue to be operational but changes to services and cancellations will be made if required to ensure our customers and staff remain safe. The rail network will be closed until at least 3pm Monday, buses operate detours and ferry service cancellations as the weather impacts develop. Plans are in place to implement when necessary.
  • Given that this storm event is predicted to bring high winds people are advised to keep a lookout for debris and fallen trees on the road, and as always to drive to the conditions.

Our plan for managing public transport services as severe weather hits

Our public transport operations team will be working closely with our Incident Management Team to ensure that our customers and staff on public transport services are kept safe as weather conditions deteriorate early next week. Depending on conditions we will be making decisions on:

  • Bus diversions, which will be implemented as required
  • Harbour bridge restrictions will follow agreed processes with Waka Kotahi and bus operators based on wind speeds
  • Trains will continue to be stopped while wind gusts are forecast to exceed 100km/h.
  • Ferry services will have reduced frequencies and cancellations, as specified by the operator. All ferry services will be cancelled if directed by the Incident Management Team.

In addition, our road maintenance teams have been working around the clock to prepare the network for Cyclone Gabrielle:

  • Sweeping teams as well as catchpit cleaning teams have been mobilised to clean and clear as many areas and catchpits as possible, especially in critical areas. This is in addition to any catchpit cleaning being done by Healthy Waters.
  • Our road maintenance work continues on from the Anniversary weekend weather event. Contractors have also implemented precautionary measures at existing slips and damaged sites across the region to help minimise further damage. This includes sandbags, installation of bunds and polyethylene covers on open slip faces and above the dropouts.
  • We have people on the ground, ready to respond quickly to slips and flood damage on roads if needed, with a large number of resources on standby.
  • Our road maintenance contractors will have in excess of 300 people available over the weekend and will ramp this up from tomorrow. We also have geotechnical and structural engineers we can call in as necessary.
  • We encourage the public to respect any current road closures, barriers and signages – they are there for your protection of your and others safety.
  • To re iterate, we will be updating our information and messaging frequently based on new or emerging information - please use the travel information available at At.govt.nz and use the AT mobile app for planning your public transport journey.

To keep up to date, please visit at.govt.nz/weatherwatch.

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