Aucklanders urged to stay home as train services suspended and Auckland Harbour Bridge closes Aucklanders urged to stay home as train services suspended and Auckland Harbour Bridge closes
Date: Sunday 12 February 2023
There are significant disruptions on Auckland’s transport network as high winds from Cyclone Gabrielle are being strongly felt across the region, Auckland Transport says.
KiwiRail, the track owner, has suspended all passenger train services in Auckland from 8pm tonight - for Britomart inbound services and 9pm for Britomart outbound services - to at least 3pm on Monday to protect passengers and train crews.
Due to this late notice, rail replacement buses are not available tomorrow 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 will continue working to source some buses for rail replacement services for tomorrow.
KiwiRail will review conditions tomorrow afternoon, carry out inspections when it is safe to do so, and reopen the rail network as soon as possible.
Scheduled bus services will be running on Monday and Tuesday but there will be some delays, detours and cancellations across the network depending on the impact of the cyclone. For schools which are opening on Monday and Tuesday we will attempt to provide school bus services, but this will depend on the conditions in the morning.
With conditions across the Hauraki Gulf worsening as Cyclone Gabrielle draws nearer Gulf Harbour, Pine Harbour and Rakino Ferries services have been cancelled for this evening. Ferries services are likely to be cancelled at short notice as conditions on the harbour worsen and swells increase. We are unable to guarantee that services will be replaced by buses. AT is in constant contact with ferry operators who are monitoring the weather in real time and will make decisions about ongoing sailings.
Meanwhile the Auckland Harbour Bridge remains closed by Waka Kotahi due to severe winds. At this stage it is expected the closure will remain in place until 10pm due to the likelihood of further strong wind speeds and gusts.
Auckland Transport has put in place a range of detours for bus services which travel across the bridge as a result of the closure.
Auckland Transport’s Executive General Manager Safety Stacey van der Putten says the train service suspension and closure of the Harbour Bridge reiterates the seriousness of the current weather event.
“We are continuing to urge Aucklanders to stay at home between now and Tuesday unless there is an absolutely urgent need for them to travel today,” Ms van der Putten says.
“We are also urging Aucklanders to plan to work from home if they are able to on Monday and Tuesday, when the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle are likely to be felt even more strongly across Auckland.
“With the Harbour Bridge now closed we are working to urgently reroute our bus services which use the bridge so that we can continue to transport those Aucklanders needing to travel today.
“If you must travel today or in coming days, please check the AT website for updates about road closures and disruptions to public transport services, and ensure you make a plan to get home safely too.”
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
Detours in place for motorists and buses while the Harbour Bridge is closed
Drivers can use the detour around SH16 and SH18 if they need to travel between the City Centre and North Auckland.
For bus users wanting to travel between the City Centre and North Shore, a range of detours are now in place.
- For bus travel southbound toward the city centre from the North Shore side:
- The NX1 and NX2 will detour via State Highway 16/ State Highway 18 to take passengers to the city.
- Bus routes 82, 923, 95B, 95C, 95G, 97B, 97R will end at Akoranga station. Passengers will need to transfer to an NX1 to Constellation Station to reach the city.
- For bus travel northbound toward the North Shore from the city centre side:
- The NX1 and NX2 will detour via State Highway 16/ State Highway 18 to take passengers to Constellation Station.
- Bus routes 95B, 95C, 95G, 97B, 97R on the city side will end at the Quay St bus stop and passengers can transfer to an NX1 or NX2 to reach the North Shore.
- From Constellation passengers can catch an NX1 Shuttle to Akoranga and catch 95B, 95C, 95G, 97B, 97R to Birkenhead.
- Bus routes 82, 923 will shuttle passengers to transfer to the NX1 and NX2 stops on the city side.
AT’s ongoing advice for Aucklanders ahead of Cyclone Gabrielle:
- Consider whether your travel between today and 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.