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Central Otago Summer Road Works Hit Top Gear

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Road works associated with the Central Otago highway maintenance programme are in full swing, with the NZ Transport Agency asking people to be patient while this work is underway.

The Transport Agency’s Central Otago Maintenance Contract Manager Mark Stewart says the work is critical to the safety and protection of the area’s highways and the people who rely upon them. “We appreciate this work can be frustrating for motorists, and we are often asked why is it being done in summer when the roads are at their busiest?

“Temperatures for chip sealing in Central Otago are only high enough in the summer, and unfortunately this coincides with holidays and major events, causing some disruptions for road users. Applying bitumen to create a sealed road surface is temperature sensitive, and likely to fail if carried out in cooler weather, leading to costly repairs and further disruption.” 

Mr Stewart says to enable people to better plan their journeys, the Transport Agency works hard to provide as much timely information as possible via its website, social media, and electronic road side messaging signs.  To minimise the effects of these road works on their journey, people should build in extra time when travelling.

There are lots of journey planning tips at http://www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/(external link)

Two major road maintenance projects are currently in progress in Central Otago:

  • Sections of State Highway 6 between Haast and Makarora – this is programmed for completion by mid to late March.  Expect delays of up to 15 minutes.
  • Some parts of SH6 in the Kawarau Gorge between Cromwell and Queenstown – work should be finished by the end of March.  Allow for delays of up to 20 minutes.

Mr Stewart said there are several resealing projects happening throughout the highway network between now and April, to keep highway surfaces protected from harsh winter weather conditions.
 
“Drivers can help us get the best results from this sealing, by slowing down to the posted temporary speed limit before reaching the new chip seal sites. We suggest they allow an extra car’s length between their vehicle and the one in front, and stick to the temporary speed limits in force, which are in place for their safety and that of the road crews.”

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