Road workers were verbally abused, and objects thrown at them by people travelling through the Te Puke Highway site this morning.
Necessary work to stabilise the Kaituna riverbank got underway on Monday, this includes reducing the Te Puke Highway to one lane and putting in stop/go for up to three weeks. As anticipated, the road works are causing some delays, however unacceptable driver behaviour has been alerted to the Police and plans put in place for CCTV cameras to be installed.
“It has come to our attention our crew is getting verbally abused and objects thrown at them from disgruntled people, says Rob Campbell, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Regional Manager Maintenance and Operations.
“Our contractor is working hard to complete this work in the shortest time possible, and while we realise delays can be frustrating, this behaviour will not be accepted.
Our key focus is to keep people using the road safe, but the safety of our crew on site is paramount. We understand Te Puke Highway is already experiencing travel delays late afternoon and early evening, but this work must be done now or there is a risk the road will slip away.
We’re asking people who travel through the site to be respectful of the stop/go crew and be patient. This team is working hard to keep traffic flowing while the bank stabilising is underway. They also have the right to feel safe and to go home to their loved ones afterwards.
The stop/go team are actively monitoring traffic to minimise delays when possible, especially between 4pm and 7pm.
The alternative route is the Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road and we have removed the toll on the westbound lanes (heading towards Tauranga) while this work is underway, between 4pm and 7pm weekdays,” says Mr Campbell.
The toll free period is to encourage anyone travelling from the west to use the Tauranga Eastern Link, by trying to reduce the traffic pressure on Te Puke Highway.
The toll free period runs until Friday 3 June, for westbound traffic only, between 4pm and 7pm, Monday to Friday.
We appreciate delays are frustrating and thank you in advance for your patience.