With a significant summer programme of work ahead for contractors across the Waikato & Bay of Plenty region, the start of October signals that the annual renewal programme is underway.
With over 700 lane kilometres of state highway to be rebuilt or resealed between now and the end of March 2023, crews will be working both day and night for the months ahead to complete this ambitious programme.
“To put it bluntly, this does mean that disruption will be a constant,” says Rob Campbell, Regional Manager, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, “but it’s all about improving our state highways - for everyone.”
“Looking at just the first few weeks of October, there will be approximately a dozen crews working on various activities across the network. Each worksite requires traffic management to keep both crews and road users safe; in some places this can mean stop/go traffic management with minor delays, at other times roads will need to be closed to allow work to take place.
“Early work programmes include chipsealing on State Highway 25 up the west side of the Coromandel Peninsula, asphalt resurfacing in Te Awamutu, Putaruru and Whakatane, and road rebuilds in the Waimana Gorge and near Whenuakite.”
There are also significant work programmes planned for SH2 between Waihī to Ōmokoroa and on SH1 through the Desert Road.
“We appreciate that closures will create longer journeys, however the nature of some areas crews need to work in makes it impossible to allow traffic through safely. However, when we close roads we look to take the opportunity to undertake a range of maintenance activities at the same time, such as guardrail repairs, sign cleaning and repair, and vegetation maintenance. This will reduce routine maintenance requirements over the rest of summer,” says Mr Campbell.
With various works happening concurrently, it may seem challenging to understand the best way to travel to a destination.
“To keep your wheels turning we highly recommend checking the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner before heading out. This will keep everyone cruising and will also help with any back-up plans should things change at short notice.
“Where possible we will minimise disruption; for example, we will undertake chipsealing at night between Waihī to Ōmokoroa on State Highway 2, which will help reduce the impact we have on this busy corridor.”