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Summer road works enable safer journeys

NZ Transport Agency - Waikato and Bay of Plenty Regional Offices

04 January 2013

Summer road works enable safer journeys

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is advising motorists planning their summer journeys over the holiday season to be aware of road works in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions. Road maintenance activity increases over the summer months to take advantage of good weather, which contributes to the efficiency and effectiveness of this work.

Maintaining and repairing the region’s roads is an integral part of the NZTA’s focus on Safer Journeys for all road users, which includes safer roads and roadsides as one of its four key ‘safe system’ focus points (the others being safe speeds; safe vehicles; and safe drivers).

NZTA state highway managers, Kaye Clark (Waikato) and Brett Gliddon (Bay of Plenty) say they are keen to ensure the safety of all road users driving through their regions. “The Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions contain over 2600km of state highway,” explains Mrs Clark. “Several of these roads carry some of the highest traffic loads in the country. Each year the NZTA carries out about 45km of road construction and around 300km of resealing in these two regions.”

Brett Gliddon adds that staying on track with the regions’ works programmes when weather conditions are good allows crews to get the most effective results and the best value from repairs and construction work. “This also ensures our roads’ accessibility and safety are maintained year-round for road users," says Mr Gliddon.

“However we recognise the frustration some road users may feel if they experience traffic queues, detours or delays as a result of our activities,” he says, adding that the NZTA is often asked about the reasons behind the timing of its road works. “People want to know, ‘why we don’t wait until later in the year away from peak summer holiday times?’ The answer is that wet or cold conditions can decrease the durability of our repair or construction work - for example, reducing how long a resealing repair will last.”

“People also ask us, ‘why don’t we work overnight or on weekends instead?’” says Mrs Clark. “From time to time we do work at night and on weekends. We usually do this where the road works are needed on roads with very high traffic volumes, as carrying out these activities during normal work hours on weekdays would cause untenable congestion and unreasonable delays.”

Both state highway managers emphasise that wherever possible, the NZTA does its best to keep delays to a minimum. “However, in some locations traffic flow through or away from the works area needs to be managed carefully to maximise the safety of road users and the work crews while work is underway,” says Mrs Clark. “This can involve using ‘stop’ and ‘go’ signs to let people through in intervals; reducing the number of lanes; or in rare cases, a road closure where detours are put in place.”

Mr Gliddon says he and Mrs Clark would like to ask that people be patient when delays do occur and remember that these works are vital to ensure the regions’ roads remain safe for them to use. “Keep an eye out for road works around the region; take note of signage, traffic controls; and plan your journey to allow for possible delays. Travel at safe speeds; drive to the conditions; and watch out for driver fatigue. At sites where NZTA’s contractors have dedicated traffic management staff on duty, their directions should be followed carefully to ensure the safety of road users and road crews.”

Mrs Clark says it’s also a good idea for drivers to take a moment to plan their journeys before they travel these holidays, using the NZTA’s free information online or by phone. “Remember to ensure your vehicle is warranted, registered and in a safe condition before you head out. Don’t drive when you’ve been drinking alcohol or taking medication or other drugs – and take regular breaks on your trip to avoid driving while fatigued.”

The NZTA’s website is regularly updated with most road work details including closures and detour information go to www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic. This information is also available by phoning the NZTA’s freephone on 0800 4HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49), which can also be used to report any significant road issues or hazards which people may come across during their travels.

ENDS

Regional road and travel information for January/February 2013:

For your information, some of the NZTA’s key road construction works currently underway in the Waikato region are listed below:

Waikato North and West:

• SH 3 North of Rukuhia, between 7th January to 14 January
• SH 26 East of Motumaoho, between 7th January to 30th January
• SH 29 Hinuera to Te Poi, between 14th January to 14th February
• SH 3 South of Te Awamutu, between 8th January to 16th January
• SH 3 Awakino Gorge, between 17th January to 25th January
• SH 3 South of Te Kuiti, between 28th January to 12th February
• SH 4 North of Mapiu, starts 8th January.

Waikato Central and East:

• SH1 at Oruanui north of Taupo starts 14th January
• SH30 between Whakamaru and Te Kuiti starts 15th January
• Also road resealing will be underway on:
o SH1 at Tirau, between 14th and 19th
o SH5 Napier/Taupo Road between 14th and 26th
o SH1 at Hatepe between 21st and 26th
o SH1 at locations between Hatepe and the Desert Road and on SH47 from 28th January.

Bay of Plenty:

Refer to the advertised map for details of exact locations and dates of the road resurfacing; or road reconstruction activity that will occur in the Bay of Plenty starting in January.

Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty:

• Tauranga City SH29 - Between Te Maunga/BayPark and the Maungatapu causeway
• Tauranga City SH2 -Waihi Road on ramp. The off ramp is likely to be closed for a few hours during construction followed by reduced speed for a day or so
• Tauranga City SH2 - Waihi Road to 15th Avenue
• Western BOP SH2 - 19 locations will be resurfaced from Athenree down to the northern side of the Wairoa bridge and eight locations from Papamoa to Otamarakau
• Western BOP SH29 - Four locations will be resurfaced covering the lower and upper KaimaiRanges
• Western BOP SH33 - Four locations between Paengaroa and Rotorua
• Western BOP SH36 - Nine locations between Pyes Pa and Te Matai Road.

Central Bay of Plenty:

• Rotorua SH5 - 1.3km section of highway at Rainbow Mountain south of Rotorua city
• Rotorua SH5 - Waiotapau South. Works may take up to three months, starting late January through to April 2013
• Rotorua SH30 -Small section of highway on Te Ngae Road at Owhata
• Rotorua SH30 - A 600m section at Tikitere. Works may take up to three months, starting late January through to April 2013.

Eastern Bay of Plenty:

• Eastern BOP SH2 - Sections of highway in these locations include; Matata, Edgecumbe, Awakeri, Taneatua, Waimana Gorge, Waimana, Nukuhou, Wainui, Wainui Gorge, Kutarere, Waiotahi, Opotiki and Waioeka Gorge
• Eastern BOP SH30 - Rotoma Gorge, Braemar, Onepu, Paroa and Awaiti.
• Eastern BOP SH34 - Kawerau
• Eastern BOP SH35 - Sections of highway in these locations include; Opape, Torere, Hawai, Blakes Bay, Motu Bridge, Motu River, Tokato, Waihapokopoko, Te Kaha,Waikawa, Raukokore Bridge, Raukokore, Waitewake and Whangaparoa.

The NZ Transport Agency works to create transport solutions for all New Zealanders – from helping new drivers earn their licences, to leading safety campaigns to investing in public transport, state highways and local roads. Follow us on twitter @nzta_news.

ENDS

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