Truck and trailer units will be able to travel on the Takaka Hill Road into and out of Golden Bay, SH60, from midday Tuesday 20 March, with the lunchtime, (permits-only) freight convoy.
“This will be the first time these truck and trailer units have been over the Takaka Hill since ex-tropical-cyclone Gita closed the road due to multiple slips on 20 February,” says NZ Transport Agency Network Manager Frank Porter.
Crews have been resurfacing damaged sections of the highway in recent days, after they had been widened to accommodate truck and trailer units. The widening has provided extra lane width needed to safely navigate some of the tighter corners, damaged due to slips and washouts.
“The crews have worked incredibly hard to reach this milestone,” says Mr Porter. “We’ve tested the route to make sure that a range of truck configurations can safely navigate their way through. Drivers will still need to take extra care around tight corners.
“We know that the restriction of no truck and trailer units has had an impact on Golden Bay businesses and the community. We know this news that the road will be open to them from Tuesday midday as part of the freight convoys and the normal morning and evening convoys will come as a welcome relief.”
Motorcyclists are asked to be considerate of all the people using State Highway 60, Takaka Hill Road, as part of the current convoys. “It is critical for the safe operation of the convoys, that everyone including motorcyclists obey the rules,” says Mr Porter. “This means being considerate of other road users by keeping their position in the convoy and not speeding or overtaking other vehicles.”
Motorcyclists are asked to:
“This week we’ve seen an average of 1000 vehicles travel the hill each day with 1900 on Sundays and the number is steadily rising, which is great news for Golden Bay,” says Mr Porter. “The road is becoming more and more reliable and we are doing everything we can to enable tourists, local people and the freight industry access to this beautiful part of New Zealand.
“We have received a number of queries about the opening hours for Easter and beyond and we are actively looking at how we can extend and alter the hours to better accommodate people’s needs, while still progressing with the repair work. We are using the time between traffic openings to get the road repaired quickly, as daylight saving ends 1 April and winter months are not far off.”
The Transport Agency is aiming to open up the road (single lane access will remain) to be used without convoys, outside of the daytime construction work, ie outside of 8 am to 5 pm Monday to Saturday, including overnight. It is intended that the section of SH60 through the slip sites will be managed by traffic signals, until two lanes can be reinstated. However, this planned timetable to move the convoy system to signals is dependent on good weather in coming weeks.
Updated when arrangements change - www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/areawarnings/202314(external link)