14 April 2008
With just four days before the start of the Hamilton 400 Police have some advice for those heading into the Waikato for the ultimate V8 experience.
Up to 65,000 fans are expected in Hamilton over the weekend, 18-20 April, and a lot of driver patience is going to be required.
Waikato Road Policing Manager, Inspector Leo Tooman, said since the track started to take shape it had begun to impact on traffic flows within the city and visitors heading to the Waikato are asked to exercise a bit of forward planning.
"To ensure maximum enjoyment from your trip we advise out-of-towners to plan the route they intend to take to the event.
"Particularly in east/west movements across the city as Mill St is basically the central focus of the track," said Mr Tooman.
Parking facilities on the eastern side of the city will be well signposted.
"Those vehicles travelling to the event from Auckland will travel down SH1 and be diverted onto SH1B at Taupiri .
"From there race fans will travel along the Gordonton Rd to the Park & Ride facility opposite Huntington. Cars will be parked there and free shuttle buses will take race fans into the venue."
Visitors from the Bay of Plenty will be directed off SH1 at Cambridge's Church Corner to SH26/ Morrinsville Rd to Ruakura.
"Cars travelling from the south via SH3 will be diverted on to Airport Rd linking up with SH1B then be directed into Park & Ride areas at Ruakura," said Mr Tooman.
"From there these fans will also travel to the venue via shuttle."
Police are asking city residents and visitors alike to make use of free public transport and leave cars at home or at Park & Ride facilities to ease congestion on Hamilton streets.
"You don't need to use your car during the Hamilton 400, leave it at home, take advantage of the 100 free buses operating throughout the city from Thursday to help ease congestion."
The buses will run to and from the parking zones, race circuit and around the city from 6.30am to 10.30pm.
"To visitors we ask you take heed of our car security campaign, 'Lock it or Lose it. If you have valuables in your car lock them out of view."
For those on long journeys who have to transit through the Waikato alternative routes may ease congestion and reduce delays.
"We're asking long distance travellers to avoid SH1B between Taupiri and Cambridge and leave that for V8 traffic heading to the parking zones.
"Traffic that doesn't need to transit through the city should give it a wide berth to the west via SH39 between Ngaruawahia and Otorohanga or the east via SH27- Matamata or SH2 Ngatea- Paeroa- Tauranga."
Mr Tooman said Police are challenging Hamilton drivers and residents to actively promote the V8s and their city as an attractive place to visit.
"The Hamilton 400 is predicted to be the biggest sporting event in the country and it's important for the region visitors come away with a positive impression of the event and of the Waikato."