The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is advising motorists driving south to New Plymouth via State Highway 3 next Monday night (June 18) that there will be short delays from time to time while contractors carry out road surface repairs in the Awakino Tunnel. State Highway Operations Manager, Karen Boyt, says the works will be carried out overnight between 8.00 pm and 4.00 am, weather permitting.
“The work is required to repair a number of potholes that have developed inside the tunnel,” says Ms Boyt. “Our crew will be operating a ‘stop/go’ system which will see the tunnel closed to traffic a number of times throughout the night. These temporary closures could delay motorists on either side of the tunnel for between 15-30 minutes each time. However, the work crew will alternate these temporary closures by regularly reopening the tunnel for 15 minute access periods to let traffic go through.”
“We want to ensure we can complete the works within the eight-hour period we’ve allocated to this task, but at the same time we are mindful of minimising disruption to motorists,” says Ms Boyt. “That’s why we’ve ensured that there will be some flexibility on the timing of the ‘stop/go’ system, depending on traffic volumes and queue lengths as they occur. It’s also why we’re carrying out the repairs overnight - rather than in the daytime when traffic on this section of SH3 is likely to be busier.”
Ms Boyt says the NZTA apologises for any inconvenience to motorists while this work is underway but emphasises the safety benefits to road users these repairs will provide. “We appreciate their patience and understanding around any temporary delays, which will allow us to make the road through the tunnel safer for drivers and other road users. We’d also like to remind people to stay alert and take note of the speed restrictions, traffic controls and signage around this operation.”
Ms Boyt says if weather conditions require the works to be postponed, they’ll be rescheduled to overnight on the following Monday (June 25).