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Auckland traffic: 'You feel like a prisoner in your own town'

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Traffic at Warkworth's Hill St intersection at 8.30am on Saturday.

As long weekend traffic builds, some Aucklanders are going to great lengths to avoid being caught in a snarl-up.


Residents of Warkworth in north Auckland, a notorious pinch point, were anticipating a jam ahead of Auckland and Northland's anniversary days on Monday.


At 9am on Saturday, the traffic heading north on State Highway 1 was heavy but flowing, with congestion points at Johnson's Hill Tunnels and about 4km south of Warkworth.


But the New Zealand Transport Agency expected congestion to get heavier during the day, with a peak about midday.


Warkworth resident Lynne McNeill said she almost felt like a prisoner in her own town because of the traffic.


"You always have to time your trips," she said.


McNeill was heading south to the North Shore and said she would have to carefully plan what time she came back home.


"Coming back up from 11am to 3pm, that's when the traffic normally backs up on the motorway. It just restricts your movements."


Another local, Bev Smith from Mahurangi West, had left home early to avoid traffic, with her trip involving a right-hand-turn onto SH1 in a 100kmh zone.


She said the traffic was bad on Saturday but not exceptional.


"It's like that every time," she said.


"At Christmas, you just get your shopping and never go out. It's horrible."


However, other residents said the heavy traffic was just something to get used to.


Warkworth resident Lewis Forno said while the traffic got worse each year, it could be avoided by using routes such as State Highway 16.


"It's not that bad; you just deal with it."


The New Zealand Transport Agency was warning motorists to be prepared for possible delays through Warkworth over the long weekend, especially on Saturday and Sunday with the Warkworth A & P show on.


Traffic heading south from Auckland was also very heavy on Saturday.


One lane on SH1, just after the southbound Takanini off-ramp, was briefly blocked but cleared before 11am.


- Stuff

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