Date: 12 February 2023
Auckland Transport is urging people to avoid all non-urgent travel today, and throughout Monday and Tuesday, as the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle begin to be felt.
Auckland Transport’s Executive General Manager Safety Stacey van der Putten says:
“We are asking Aucklanders to stay safe and take extreme care if they need to travel.
“If you must travel, please check the AT website for the latest updates and a list of areas to avoid should flooding occur. You should plan your full return journey.
“With high winds today, there is a possibility there may be a closure on the Harbour Bridge, so check for travel updates and plan your full return journey. Due to severe wind gusts, reduced speed limits are currently in place on the bridge. High sided vehicles and motorcycles should please consider delaying their journey or detour via SH18/SH16 Western ring route.
“This storm is predicted to bring very high winds, so please keep a lookout for debris and fallen trees on the road, and as always drive to the conditions. 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 by visiting the Long term road repairs from Auckland storms page.
AT’s advice for Aucklanders ahead of Cyclone Gabrielle:
- Consider whether your travel early next week is necessary and plan ahead your full return journey – there is a possibility the Harbour Bridge will need to close, so consider avoiding heading over the bridge unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Check the AT website at at.govt.nz/weatherwatch for regular updates on road closures and public transport
- 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. 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 be stopped when winds exceed 100km/h. Contingencies are being confirmed with KiwiRail and our rail operate Auckland One Rail.
- 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 can ramp this up if necessary next week. 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.