The NZ Transport Agency is advising motorists that sealing works on State Highway 58 have been ‘paused’ for the winter, with cold and wet weather making it impractical to continue with sealing and lane marking work.
Colder temperatures and more rain over the winter months would prevent the final seal on the $2.5m realignment of the curve between Harris and Mt Cecil Roads from binding properly, and the works will be concluded in spring.
Temporary speed limits have been lifted from 30 to 50km/hr through the site, and will remain in place over the winter.
Regional Performance Manager Mark Owen says the project remains on track and like all Wellingtonians, the Transport Agency and its contractors are looking forward to the weather improving.
“There’s no point trying to carry on with sealing work in this weather – it’s too cold and wet for the seal to work properly and we’ll end up having to do it again. We want to do it once and do it well, so we’ll wait until things warm up and dry out a bit, and we’ll be back into it as soon as the weather improves, hopefully from about September.”
The first stage of the project involves cutting eight metres into the southern side of the hill to straighten the curve, the removal of the passing lanes, the installation of a 700m wire rope safety barrier, and improvements to the drainage systems to maintain the road’s integrity.
“State Highway 58 is a challenging piece of road, with multiple hazards including sharp curves, roadside drop-offs and gradient changes. This project will make the road safer and more forgiving, so simple mistakes don’t result in serious injuries or fatalities.”
Mr Owen says the road is also being made safer for cyclists, with a full 1.5m shoulder being provided.
The realignment is the first stage in a wider $30m package of improvements scheduled for SH58 between SH2 and Transmission Gully, which includes further curve realignment, a reduction in the speed limit (from 100 to 80km/hr), the installation of a wire rope barrier and a roundabout at Moonshine Road.
Construction of a grade-separated interchange at the intersection of SH58 and SH2 is expected to start in 2015.