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Motorists urged to allow extra time for summer journeys


Motorists are being urged to allow extra time for their journeys and take care on West Coast roads this summer with a number of maintenance projects underway throughout the region.

The NZ Transport Agency’s West Coast Senior Network Manager Mark Pinner says summer is the best time to carry out the maintenance work required to keep the highways safe for everyone to use.

“Unfortunately this work also coincides with the busy holiday and summer period.”

He says warmer temperatures and dry air are critical to help new seal stick more effectively to the existing surface. 

“If this work was done in winter, the cold ground means the new surface can harden too quickly and risks cracking, while stones in the chip seal can pop out. Then we’d have to re-do the work again, causing even more inconvenience for travellers.”

Mr Pinner says the Transport Agency does everything it can to reduce disruption at road works sites but it is important all road users are patient and observe speed limits with trucks and diggers on site and the roadway often narrower as a result.

“These speed limits are in place as a safety precaution both for motorists and for those working on site.”

Motorists on the West Coast need to be mindful of the following works which may result in some delays to their journeys this summer:

State Highway 6

  • Totara Valley, between Hokitika and Ross - $155,000 of road reconstruction* and re-sealing of the highway at Totara Valley will get underway mid January and run through to late February. Traffic speeds will be reduced to 50km/h and 30km/h and the highway will be single lane when sealing is completed.
  • Ferguson's Bush, between Ross and Harihari - work begins mid January on the 10-week, $550,000 programme of road reconstruction, widening and re-sealing at Ferguson's Bush. Traffic speeds will be reduced to 50km/h and 30km/h and the highway will be single lane when sealing is completed in March.

State Highway 67

  • Birchfield, between Westport and Granity - this $640,000 programme of road reconstruction and new seal is already underway at Birchfield, to be completed late March. There are speed restrictions and the highway will be single lane when sealing is completed.

For up-to-date state highway travel information visit link) or phone the Transport Agency's 0800 4 HIGHWAYS information line to get the latest updates or to report incidents or hazards on the state highways.  Alternatively, sign-up via link) to receive free email alerts to keep informed, before you start your journey, about notable incidents, road conditions or road works on the state highway network.

*Road reconstruction can include clearing of weeds and vegetation from the roadside, digging of new trenches, road widening, the application of new chip, re-sealing the highway and safety improvement works.