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Aucklanders face frustrating commute over damaged Harbour Bridge

With the Auckland Harbour Bridge operating at half capacity, thousands of Aucklanders face a crawl into work this morning.

Commuters are being asked to work from home if they can, catch public transport or travel outside peak times. Source: rnz.co.nz

Four of the bridge's eight lanes could be closed for weeks, after a freak gust of wind on Friday blew a truck into a structurally important load-bearing strut.

Commuters are being asked to work from home if they can, catch public transport or travel outside peak times.

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Strong winds tipped a truck into the structure on Friday, bending a strut and forcing the closure of the middle lanes. Source: Breakfast

In the North Shore suburb of Northcote, city workers thought they might have to leave an hour earlier than normal, bypassing breakfast at home to get out the door quickly.

Normally 170,000 cars cross the bridge on a normal day, linking the northern part of the city to the centre and south.

With the original main structure out of action, the four "clip-on" lanes are the city's saving grace.

The strut was damaged by the strut. Source: rnz.co.nz

One woman, Roxanne, said she'll catch the bus this morning but hopes she doesn't have to brave traffic all week.

"I do have to be at work [today], I have meetings and things I need to be in there for, but the rest of the week I'm fine so working from home shouldn't be a real issue."

For some others they can't work at home and time is money.

"I have to work, I'm running a building site. I just think whoever's in charge of repairing it needs to pull finger. Why is no one working on the bridge [over the weekend]? It's ridiculous."

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Hundreds of thousands of people have been urged to avoid travel or use public transport. Source: 1 NEWS

One man, Trevor, works in South Auckland. He might be able to work at home eventually but can't straight away.

"On the motorway with 200-odd other thousand people. It is what it is. Might even try knock off a couple Covid-pounds and go to the gym early, but I'm not too sure about that one."

With no real way of knowing how long the commute will take, some are leaving the house bright and early.

"I'm teaching in a classroom, so I have to be there ready for my kids early in the morning for an 8am start. Hopefully, I get there in time or the kids will be stuck without a teacher."

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Four lanes still remain closed on the bridge after strong winds toppled two trucks on Friday. Source: 1 NEWS

And some will probably be getting some envious looks, like Ralph.

"I'm on a motor scooter crossing the bridge every day so I'm actually not really affected by the traffic jam because I can go between cars."

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency said even a temporary fix will be at least a week away, and a permanent one may take a month.

Auckland Transport says there are 14,000 extra seats on buses and ferries this week. Off-peak fares are discounted by 30 percent.