People who drive over Tākaka Hill (SH60) at night should be aware that pre-winter maintenance begins on Sunday night, 15 May. The highway will be closed from 8 pm at night until 5.30 am the next morning through until Friday morning, 20 May (five nights).
“These night-time closures will occur about four times a year to ensure this highway is in as good a condition as possible,” says Andrew James, System Manager Top of the South for Waka Kotahi, NZ Transport Agency. “As well as repairs to the road’s surface, vegetation, drainage and water channels’ maintenance will be carried out to avoid future delays.
“We will have a 1 am opening on each of the nights and emergency vehicles will be managed through the work sites at all times. This first five nights of work will help us to work preventatively ahead of winter weather to ensure the road is in good shape.
“We will continue to advertise each of these night-time closures, times and dates as early as we can and ensure local stakeholders and those who regularly use the road are in contact with the right people and understand the opening schedule.”
The reasons for the new night-time maintenance schedule centres on worker safety and efficiency, says Mr James. “Given the narrowness of this extremely winding highway, it is hard to keep our crews safe alongside live traffic lanes. Using the night-time hours and full closures when traffic volumes are small provides a window to keep our people safe and also means they can get the work done much more efficiently.
“Most of the drainage clearing will occur in winter with resurfacing in the warmer summer months. There will be some daytime work on top of this, but much fewer delays for most road users overall,” he says.