Easter traffic backs up
Returning holiday motorists on State Highway 1 north of Wellington faced long delays on Easter Monday.
The NZ Transport Agency said southbound delays between Levin and Peka Peka peaked at more than an hour in the afternoon, but eased by 8.15pm.
One traveller said about 5.30pm that SH1 between Otaki and Sanson was virtually at a standstill. ‘‘The fastest you go at any point is 20kmh for about a minute.’’
Another motorist said it had taken her an hour to get from Levin to Otaki in ‘‘shockingly terrible traffic’’.
The Otaki roundabout southbound was down to one lane about 5.30pm, with traffic crawling through from two directions.
Motorists trying to take a short cut around SH1 clogged Rahui Rd, which joins the roundabout from the east.
An empty pie warmer and a line of 25 people waiting to use the toilet greeted customers at BP service station next to the roundabout. A staff member said traffic had been crawling since 9am.
Three people died on the roads over the long weekend.
An alleged hit-and-run, a motorbike race accident and a collision between a four-wheel- drive and a tanker claimed the lives.
Ruaraidh McLeod, 25, was killed in a crash at the Methven Easter motorcycle street races about 12.50pm on Saturday. The death was not included in the official road toll as the road was closed to the public at the time.
The second death was early on Sunday near Gisborne. Police said a man died at the scene after an incident in Ruatoria about 12.40am on Sunday.
Later on Sunday morning, 21-year-old Conor Drake from Otautau in Southland was killed after his 4WD collided with a milk tanker.
Southbound traffic queued at the Otaki roundabout about 5.30pm on Easter Monday.