The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is advising motorists planning their summer journeys over the holiday season to be aware of road works in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions. Road maintenance activity increases over the summer months to take advantage of good weather, which contributes to the efficiency and effectiveness of this work.
Maintaining and repairing the region’s roads is an integral part of the NZTA’s focus on Safer Journeys for all road users, which includes safer roads and roadsides as one of its four key ‘safe system’ focus points (the others being safe speeds; safe vehicles; and safe drivers).
NZTA state highway managers, Kaye Clark (Waikato) and Brett Gliddon (Bay of Plenty) say they are keen to ensure the safety of all road users driving through their regions. “The Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions contain over 2600km of state highway,” explains Mrs Clark. “Several of these roads carry some of the highest traffic loads in the country. Each year the NZTA carries out about 45km of road construction and around 300km of resealing in these two regions.”
Brett Gliddon adds that staying on track with the regions’ works programmes when weather conditions are good allows crews to get the most effective results and the best value from repairs and construction work. “This also ensures our roads’ accessibility and safety are maintained year-round for road users," says Mr Gliddon.
“However we recognise the frustration some road users may feel if they experience traffic queues, detours or delays as a result of our activities,” he says, adding that the NZTA is often asked about the reasons behind the timing of its road works. “People want to know, ‘why we don’t wait until later in the year away from peak summer holiday times?’ The answer is that wet or cold conditions can decrease the durability of our repair or construction work - for example, reducing how long a resealing repair will last.”
“People also ask us, ‘why don’t we work overnight or on weekends instead?’” says Mrs Clark. “From time to time we do work at night and on weekends. We usually do this where the road works are needed on roads with very high traffic volumes, as carrying out these activities during normal work hours on weekdays would cause untenable congestion and unreasonable delays.”
Both state highway managers emphasise that wherever possible, the NZTA does its best to keep delays to a minimum. “However, in some locations traffic flow through or away from the works area needs to be managed carefully to maximise the safety of road users and the work crews while work is underway,” says Mrs Clark. “This can involve using ‘stop’ and ‘go’ signs to let people through in intervals; reducing the number of lanes; or in rare cases, a road closure where detours are put in place.”
Mr Gliddon says he and Mrs Clark would like to ask that people be patient when delays do occur and remember that these works are vital to ensure the regions’ roads remain safe for them to use. “Keep an eye out for road works around the region; take note of signage, traffic controls; and plan your journey to allow for possible delays. Travel at safe speeds; drive to the conditions; and watch out for driver fatigue. At sites where NZTA’s contractors have dedicated traffic management staff on duty, their directions should be followed carefully to ensure the safety of road users and road crews.”
Mrs Clark says it’s also a good idea for drivers to take a moment to plan their journeys before they travel these holidays, using the NZTA’s free information online or by phone. “Remember to ensure your vehicle is warranted, registered and in a safe condition before you head out. Don’t drive when you’ve been drinking alcohol or taking medication or other drugs – and take regular breaks on your trip to avoid driving while fatigued.”
The NZTA’s website is regularly updated with most road work details including closures and detour information go to www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic(external link). This information is also available by phoning the NZTA’s freephone on 0800 4HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49), which can also be used to report any significant road issues or hazards which people may come across during their travels.
Regional road and travel information for January/February 2013:
For your information, some of the NZTA’s key road construction works currently underway in the Waikato region are listed below:
Waikato North and West:
Waikato Central and East:
Bay of Plenty:
Refer to the advertised map for details of exact locations and dates of the road resurfacing; or road reconstruction activity that will occur in the Bay of Plenty starting in January.
Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty:
Central Bay of Plenty:
Eastern Bay of Plenty: