There are still a few months to go until the Muldoon's Corner safety improvements on the Rimutaka Hill Road are completed, but traffic is already getting its first taste of the new road alignment in its entirety as the NZTA gets to work laying chipseal.
NZTA Wellington state highways manager Rod James says the final remaining sections of new road have been opened to traffic, marking a significant step forward for the $16m safety project.
“Motorists who regularly use this road will have watched with interest as construction has progressed, and it’s a real milestone to get them using the new sections of road months ahead of schedule.”
Mr James says the project remains on track for completion months ahead of schedule. The project was brought forward two and a half years by the Government’s 2009 Jobs and Growth stimulus package.
Mr James says chipsealing is also well underway, and the NZTA has already sealed one-quarter of the project.
“We’re aiming to lay chipseal all along the new road before Christmas, and then we’ll lay a final asphalt surface early next year.
Mr James says the last section of earthworks is about to start at “Cut 900”, approximately 1km from the road summit, next week.
“Access is quite difficult and to work safely in this area one lane of traffic will need to be closed during the day, so a single lane for both uphill and downhill traffic will be controlled by stop/go signs next week."
Mr James says this work will start on Monday 21 November through to Friday 25 November. It takes some time to set up the necessary machinery so work hours will be extended as follows:
Two lanes of traffic will be open outside these hours. The NZTA is asking motorists to follow the signs and drive to the temporary speed limits.
Mr James says the NZTA has delayed the start time next Monday to cater for any extra traffic that may be heading back over the hill to Wellington following Toast Martinborough on Sunday.
The following week will see the work on Cut 900 continuing for extended hours during the day, as well as some night work to lay a new culvert across the road. Once again, as access is so difficult there will be periods when the road will be closed completely. This is because the equipment required to dig the trench for the culvert will need to be positioned on the uphill lane while cutting through the downhill lane.
Road Closures: Expect delays of up to 1 hour between midnight and 5am on the morning of Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th November.
The road will be passable for emergency services during this time as we can stop work and move the digger to let them through. This would also happen if there were a build-up of traffic but this is not expected as the road will be closed in the early hours of the morning when traffic is at a minimum.
Mr James says the NZTA is grateful to motorists for their ongoing patience and understanding as the roadworks enter their final few months.