Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is taking advantage of continued fine weather in Northland to push ahead with its summer road maintenance programme.
All crews are back at work after the Christmas holiday break but will stay off the roads on the Fridays before Auckland Anniversary Weekend (Friday, 29 January) and the Waitangi Day Weekend (Friday, 5 February) to minimise disruption for holiday traffic.
“Our crews completed about 30 lane kilometres of road resurfacing before Christmas, and we plan to do another 80 lane kilometres before the end of summer,” says Waka Kotahi Senior System Manager Wayne Oldfield.
“Warm summer months are the best time for resurfacing as daylight hours are longer and the warm temperatures and dry air help the new seal stick to the road surface.”
The maintenance programme is currently running ahead of schedule with repair and resealing works completed on SH10, SH11 and SH1 north of Whangārei. There will be night works this week on SH1 south of Whangārei to complete that section of state highway.
Road rehabilitation – where the road is dug up, repaired and re-laid as new – is planned on SH10 at Pākaraka and preliminary drainage and clearing work will start this week. The full rehabilitation will start in mid-February and take about four weeks.
Resealing is also planned on SH15 after the anniversary weekend, and on SH14 Whangārei to Dargaville and SH12 Dargaville to Brynderwyn from 9 February. Resealing works are also planned on SH16 in mid-February.
As the summer season winds down in March, there will be works at Ōtonga Flats Slips.
Motorists are reminded that for 24 hours following re-sealing work, traffic management will remain in place at sites to move vehicles over the loose chip at a reduced speed while the seal settles in.
“We ask all motorists to help by slowing down and keeping to the temporary speed limits. Driving at the posted speed limits helps bed in the new seal and prevents stone chips flying into windscreens.
“The road crews will work hard to minimise inconvenience and delays. We urge people to be patient, plan their journeys and allow extra time.”
Motorists are reminded that resealing works are weather-dependent and may be cancelled at short notice.
Northland’s road maintenance is funded through Waka Kotahi’s three-yearly National Land Transport Programme. In the current 2018-2021 period, Waka Kotahi is investing $38 million to repair and resurface a total of 574 lane kilometres of Northland state highways. This is part of a much larger three-year investment of $109 million to maintain Northland’s state highways and includes other important maintenance work like upgrading guard rails, repainting markings, trimming trees, unblocking drains and picking up litter.
You can view planned road works ahead of your journey by checking the Waka Kotahi real time journey planner. The journey planner includes worksites, area warnings, traffic updates and state highways road works information.
Waka Kotahi urges motorists to take care around work sites and road workers.
“We ask all motorists to slow down, drive to the conditions and keep to the temporary speed limits at road works. The speed limit applies on both sides of the road even though work may only be occurring in one lane at a time,” says Waka Kotahi Senior System Manager, Wayne Oldfield.
“Traffic management, such as temporary speed limits, signs and cones, is used to alert road users to a change in the road or to works ahead. When motorists disregard the traffic management, they put themselves, other road users and our workers at risk.
“Speeding through work sites is a significant problem. Speeding vehicles can flick up loose metal and other objects. Motorists have less control at higher speeds. They may clip road cones and send them flying or lose control completely.”
Wayne Oldfield says managing traffic safely through work sites is a critical task, and Waka Kotahi calls on all motorists to show respect and courtesy to road workers.
“Our traffic managers are out in all weather, working long hours in difficult conditions to keep people safe and the traffic moving. The nature of the work makes them vulnerable to speeding vehicles, and unfortunately they can also be the target of abuse from frustrated or impatient drivers. It costs nothing to be patient and give them a friendly wave.
“Road workers are someone’s husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister. They go to work, do long hours, and expect to go home safely at the end of the day. All road users have a role in ensuring that road workers stay safe.
“Ultimately, motorists need to put themselves in the boots of our workers and understand the very real danger of speeding through work sites or disregarding the traffic managers. We urge people to be patient, plan their journeys and allow extra time.”
Wayne Oldfield says that even when there is no one working at a site, there may be speed limits left in place to protect recently laid road seal and the safety of road users.
“We need to consider reduced visibility and temporary surfaces at night, the effects of bad weather and the needs of vulnerable users like motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians. We need to identify hazards and alert drivers to changes that they may not be expecting, like reduced road width or changes to the road layout.
“If there’s a temporary speed limit or road cones on the road, they are there for a reason – to make the road safer for all users.”
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