NZ weather: Transport agency warns Auckland Harbour Bridge could close as city prepares for high winds

The Transport Agency is warning Auckland motorists severe gale force winds could close the Harbour Bridge on Tuesday. 

MetService has issued a strong wind watch for Auckland from 6pm on Tuesday until 6am on Wednesday. 

The forecaster warns northeast winds may approach severe gale in exposed places.

The strong wind watch in place for Auckland has triggered an amber alert and a possible red alert, NZTA said. 

The transport agency said under an amber alert, speeds would be reduced and lanes may close on the bridge, while under a red alert, the bridge would close entirely.  

"Motorists are urged to drive to the conditions, look out for the electronic message boards which will indicate lane closures and reduced speeds, or full bridge closure, and stay within their lane while travelling across the bridge," NZTA said.

The transport agency said they're working closely with MetService to monitor wind speeds with maintenance crews out on the network ready to react and close lanes on the bridge if wind gusts exceed threshold levels, NZTA said. 

"The safety of road users is our top priority and we won’t hesitate to reduce speeds, close lanes or close the bridge if necessary."

NZTA urges drivers of high-sided vehicles and motorcyclists to avoid the Harbour Bridge and use the Western Ring Route on State Highways 16 and 18.

The transport agency said motorists can keep up to date with all the latest information on their social media pages and on their journey planner.