The Takaka Hill road into Golden Bay (SH60) will be open all day and all night, barring further closures due to more slips or incidents, from this Saturday morning at 6 am, says the NZ Transport Agency.
“Crews have made good progress in getting this important hill highway into Golden Bay to a state where all drivers will be able to safely use the one-way sections with the aid of manual traffic management (Stop/Go) and/or with traffic lights,” says Frank Porter, Transport Agency System Manager.
“However, we need to remind everyone that there are narrow sections and all drivers, riders and road users need to be vigilant through this winter until the road is back to its more usual width.”
Since ex-tropical-cyclone Gita lashed Takaka and Riwaka on 20 February, the hill road has been closed and then reopened for managed convoys going in each direction, limited daytime hours with longer hours on Sundays.
“We are aiming to have electronic signs at either side of the hill updating people of any delays or significant issues. There will still be crews actively working leading into winter, however, they will manage traffic on either side of their work sites with manual traffic management. The aim is to maintain the highway in a safe state through the winter, with permanent road reconstruction and repairs to start in the summer of 2018/19.
“Cyclists will be able to bike the hill, but we ask them and all drivers to take special care and be aware that people will need to wait if there is a cyclist ahead of them. It will be a much slower route than it used to be until we get the major repairs underway in the coming summer season.”
Drivers, motorcycle riders and cyclists will not be able to stop between or within areas of manual traffic management and/or traffic signals. Drivers will also not be able to overtake in these narrow areas for everyone’s safety.
Mr Porter says the Transport Agency and crews do not underestimate the inconvenience limited access to Takaka Hill has caused many local people and businesses.
It was great to see so many people visiting Golden Bay for Easter with between 1800 and 2,000 vehicles making the trip safely each day (in both directions), he says. On Good Friday 2,161 vehicles went over and back.
Normal numbers on the hill outside of holidays are much smaller - around 1300 vehicles per day in both directions.
The open hours on Takaka Hill for the remainder of this week including Friday, 6 April, are the same as for before Easter: 6-8 am mornings and 5-9 pm evenings.
Check latest update: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/sh60-takaka-hill-repairs/