27 Oct 2014

Power out as Aucklanders return home

10:05 pm on 27 October 2014

A power cut north of Auckland caused big delays for drivers returning to the city after the long holiday weekend today, while traffic on other New Zealand roads was also heavy.

Police car

Photo: Photo NZ

Traffic lights in Warkworth were out at Hill Street from this afternoon, and the New Zealand Transport Agency urged people to use the alternate State Highway 16 route to get to Auckland. A generator was sent to power the traffic lights.

Power has since been restored to Warkworth and about 400 homes in the area.

Lines company Vector is now listing another power cut, in the Auckland suburbs of Balmoral and Mt Eden that is affecting almost 600 homes and businesses. It expects the fault to be fixed by 11pm.

The Transport Agency also said south-bound traffic on State Highway 1, the Desert Road, was very heavy and queues of vehicles were forming around Otaki this evening.

Motorists driving to Wellington on this road were told to allow for delays as it became more severe.

Girl's death brings road toll to three

Earlier today, the death of a 10-year-old girl brought the road toll to three, after she was struck by a motorcycle in Bay of Plenty.

The girl was hit on State Highway 30 near Lake Rotoma shortly before 8pm yesterday. She was flown to Rotorua Hospital where she later died.

A police spokesperson said shortly after that incident, two vehicles collided on the same road and several people were taken to Whakatane Hospital with minor injuries.

In Dunedin, a 78-year-old woman was seriously injured after being hit by a vehicle in the central city last night, police said.

A woman is in a critical condition following a single-car crash near Feilding about 3.30am today on Taonui Road in Aorangi.

The ambulance service said the woman, aged in her 20s, was trapped in the vehicle for about an hour. She was taken to Palmerston North hospital for treatment.

The first fatal crash of the holiday period happened on Friday, when a person died after a car collided with a truck at Dairy Flat north of Auckland.

Another died after car and a truck crash on State Highway 1 south of Lichfield in Waikato on Saturday.

Wet weather was forecast for much of the country on the last day of the long weekend, prompting police to ask motorists driving home from holiday spots to take extra care.

National road policing manager Carey Griffiths said it was too soon to say what the factors were in this weekend's three fatal crashes, but speed, inexperience and not paying attention are typical in accidents.

"The common theme with all of these this weekend has been that they aren't extreme behaviours, early indications are these are mistakes or errors that have resulted in the deaths of people."

Mr Griffiths said people should drive to the conditions, be patient and try not to overtake unnecessarily.

"We're asking people to watch their following distances, double the normal two-second rule, give yourself a good four seconds from the vehicle in front," he said.

Last year, one person died on the roads on Labour Weekend. The holiday road period started on Friday at 4pm and ends on Tuesday at 6am.