Wet and windy weather, together with unforeseen ground conditions have moved the completion date for construction of a new half-bridge and safety barrier on the Rimutaka Hill Road into the first weekend in November, later than originally planned.
“While this is a relatively small project, the complex nature of the design, challenging physical environment and unexpected ground conditions have resulted in a significant increase in the required size and strength of the new structure,” says Wellington Transport System Manager, Mark Owen.
“We had hoped to complete the project by early November. However, further design modifications and the need for a greater number of rock anchors have increased the complexity and construction methodology, unfortunately impacting on the construction time.”
In terms of impact on traffic to date, special monitoring equipment based on either side of the Hill, shows that there is only a couple of minutes delay through the site when traffic is heavy.
“The most affected group from this work is companies wanting to move over dimension loads like houses,” says Mr Owen. “Over dimension loads wider than 2.8m will continue to be restricted from using the Rimutaka Hill Road while the work is ongoing. We acknowledge that this work has impacted on their operations and we want to apologise for this delay. It’s not ideal but once the work is done it will bring benefits in terms of road safety.”
Given the extended duration of the half bridge project, work will also start on the corner easing project, 350m further up the hill, from the night of November 5th. This will extend the length of the work site and mean that motorists will have to be extra vigilant driving through the site and sticking to the temporary speed limit. “We will be using manual stop / go traffic management at both ends of the work sites, and the current temporary traffic signals will be removed from November 5th. The extended closure may result in some additional traffic delays.
“Whether you are travelling across the Hill on a motorbike, a bicycle, a truck or a car, please pay attention as you are travelling through the work site and stick to the temporary speed limit. Both projects are due for completion before the Christmas. “We want to thank everyone for their patience and just reinforce that this work will make the road safer for all.”
For more information about the Rimutaka Hill Road improvements visit https://nzta.govt.nz/rimutaka(external link).