With winter weather starting to settle in, motorists are reminded to adjust their driving to keep themselves and other road users safe as we head into the most treacherous months for driving.
The NZ Transport Agency has launched its Winter Journeys campaign, which encourages drivers to plan ahead to reduce winter driving risks.
“There are more vehicle crashes during June and August when motorists are likely to encounter fewer daylight hours and wetter, more slippery roads,” says Ernst Zöllner, the Transport Agency’s Road Safety Director.
“Simple guidelines for winter travelling include ensuring your vehicle is safe, always driving to the road and weather conditions, allowing more time for your travel, slowing down, being prepared for unexpected hazards and allowing greater following distance between you and the vehicle ahead,” says Mr Zöllner.
“The room for mistakes is reduced when road and weather conditions are less favourable, and we don’t want anyone’s mistake to end in an avoidable tragedy.”
“Most important though is to plan your journey, check weather and road conditions, choose the safest route if you have the option and if possible avoid travelling in extreme weather and road conditions.
“And remember, road closures and restrictions are put in place for your protection and other road users, so please observe these.”
Drivers can get the most up to date information to help plan their trip via a dedicated website www.nzta.govt.nz/winterjourneys(external link) or by calling 0800 44 44 49 (0800 4 HIGHWAYS).
Bay of Plenty motorists can also go to www.drivelive.nz/BayofPlenty(external link) and www.drivelive.nz/tauranga,(external link) websites that tell drivers what the current travel times are to get to key places around the region.
People travelling through the Bay of Plenty are also advised that they may encounter speed restrictions and other traffic management on state highways around the region this month, as Transport Agency contractors continue work on safety upgrades and major projects such as the Maungatapu underpass.
Roadworks that are scheduled to start in the next week or are currently underway are detailed below to help people plan ahead when travelling.
SH2 Chapel Street Viaduct Tauranga
Contractors carrying out maintenance on the viaduct from June 19 through to June 23 and motorists are advised to drive with extra care and attention.
The work will be carried out at night between the hours of 7pm and 6am to avoid major delays to traffic. One lane will be closed and speed restrictions will be in place.
Transport Agency contractors will be carrying out ‘mill and fill’ works on a section of SH2 Bethlehem overnight on June 15 and 16. The work involves digging up a section of road and layering hot asphalt to repair the road surface. One lane will be closed during the work and speed restrictions will be in place. The work is being carried out between the hours of 7pm and 6am to reduce the impact on traffic. Drivers are urged to drive with care and expect minor delays during work hours.
SH2 Te Puna Roundabout
Contractors have started stage one of the roundabout project which includes surveying and locating services such as power, water, stormwater and sewerage. The work is mainly offline and is not expected to significantly impact traffic on SH2 in the short term. The main part of the work, including construction of the roundabout, will get underway in September.
SH2 Snodgrass Road
Transport Agency contractors are carrying out ‘mill and fill’ works on a section of SH2 near Snodgrass Road from June 19 until June 23. The work involves digging up a section of road and layering hot asphalt to repair the road surface. The work will be carried out each night from 7pm to reduce the impact on traffic. Drivers are urged to drive with extra care and adhere to speed restrictions and other traffic management that will be in place.
SH2 between Tauranga and Waihi
Motorists travelling on SH2 between Tauranga and Waihi are urged to drive with extra care as work continues on a major safety upgrade.
A section of highway between Wainui South Road and Sargent Drive is being repaired and widened, and a wire rope central median barrier installed to prevent head on crashes.
A 50km/h speed restriction is in place for the safety of workers and people are urged to stay alert behind the wheel as there will be changes to the road layout. The work is expected to be completed this month.
SH29/ Takitimu Drive and SH36/Taurikura Drive roundabout upgrade
Motorists are asked to drive with extra care when travelling through the roundabouts over the next two months. Tauranga City Council’s contractor is carrying out works and speed restrictions, lane closures and occasional stop/go traffic management will be in place at times.
SH35 Opotiki to Cape Runaway and SH2 Waioeka Gorge
Transport Agency contractors will be working at various sites along these routes in June, carrying out drainage improvement works. Traffic management will be in place and motorists are advised to drive with extra care and expect minor delays.
Rotorua/Eastern Bay of Plenty safety improvements
Transport Agency contractors will be making safety improvements to the state highway network around Rotorua and near Opotiki over the next month. The changes include installing safety rails, new road marking, and tree trimming to improve visibility. Speed restrictions and other traffic management will be in place at times on SH36 Hamurana, SH30 Lower Atiamuri, SH5 Reporoa/Mihi, SH2 Opotiki, and SH35 Opape.
Eastern Bay of Plenty water cutting
Speed restrictions and stop/go traffic management will be in place on state highways around the Eastern Bay of Plenty this month as contractors continue an annual water cutting programme.
Water cutting with a high pressure water jet removes areas of excess bitumen that have appeared during the hot weather over summer. It helps to improve grip and prolong the life of the road. Work is continuing on SH2 from Waiotahe through to the Waioeka Gorge. People should expect minor delays and are urged to drive carefully through the work sites.