The repair and upgrade of the State Highway 2 Rimutaka Hill Road Summit car park this month brings to a close a 12 month, multi-agency project, aimed at improving an iconic tourist spot for the Wellington and Wairarapa regions.
The carpark will be closed in coming weekdays to allow the final touches to be applied before Christmas.
Throughout 2014 considerable work has gone into improving this important stopping point for travellers over the Rimutakas. Over the years the summit has housed a hotel and later a café in its time but when the café burnt down in 2009 the site was left empty.
Recent work to improve the summit has been a joint effort by staff from DoC, Greater Wellington, Upper Hutt City Council and the NZ Transport Agency. The summit site now features a new loop track, new fencing, a lookout and information kiosk.
The bulk of the work was carried out last winter, including a joint agency working bee in June to plant around 400 native plants around the walkway and lookout.
Adrienne Staples, Mayor of South Wairarapa and Chair of the Rimutaka Hill Road Committee welcomes the completion of the Summit rest area. “Visitors love to stop at the top and have a breather. It’s a great place to stretch your legs and take in the view. The car park is also an important pull over area for slower vehicles and this upgrade compliments the Muldoon’s Corner project.”
Repairing and upgrading the car park is the final phase of the project but had to wait until the weather improved. NZ Transport Agency Regional Performance Manager Mark Owen said that while the planting had to be done in winter to ensure the best chance of success for the plants to establish, repairing and improving the carpark was very much a warm weather job.
“Summer is without a doubt the best time to repair and reseal asphalt because we need warmer temperatures and dry air help the new seal stick to the road surface.
“While it hasn’t necessarily felt like the warmest start to summer over recent weeks, it’s warmer than June and summer definitely the best time of year to do road works like this.”
Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy says, “It’s great to see the completion of these essential improvements that will make the trip across the Rimutakas safer and more enjoyable to drive on. With this final piece of work being done in time for the holidays, travellers will be able to stop and rest, and carry on the tradition of taking a ‘summit snap’ or a lunch with a great view on their way into or out of the region.”
Mr Owen says the summit carpark is a busy spot for travellers, tourists and large vehicles so it’s important that the public knows the carpark will be closed while the work is underway. However, the plan is to have it completed and ready for the busy Christmas holiday season. The work will include new markings for carparks and a wide shoulder for northbound slow vehicles to safely pull over.
The carpark is scheduled to be closed for two days on Friday December 12th and Monday December 15th. However, these dates are subject to change, depending on how the weather pans out. Road crews will be onsite from 9am to 4pm each day. For vehicles wanting to stop at the top, the best available option is the Muldoon’s Corner carpark approximately 400m before the summit heading north.
“Our plan is to re-open the carpark on Friday December 12th and over the weekend, so people can enjoy the summit when it’s busy. If bad weather should strike then work will be rescheduled to the next fine day.
“Restoring and improving this well-known spot has been a real team effort. People have fond memories of stopping at the top of the Rimutakas, so it’s rewarding that we can restore this well-known spot and improve it for generations to come.”
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