Motorists travelling on their summer holidays in or out of Wellington are being urged to plan ahead, drive with care and be aware of existing construction sites on state highways throughout the region.
Most Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency work sites will close from 23 December 2020 to 4 January 2021 to leave the roads clear for holiday traffic, but there will still be temporary speed limits and road cones at the work sites or where there has been recent road resurfacing.
“Traffic management, such as temporary speed limits, signs and cones, is used to alert road users to a change in the road layout or to pre-warn travellers of work sites ahead, so look out for the signs and take extra care in the lead up to Christmas and during the holiday period,” Regional Transport Systems Manager Mark Owen says.
“October through to March is our peak maintenance period. The spring and summer months are the best time for resurfacing as daylight hours are longer and the warm, dry air helps new seal stick to the road surface. It’s also the best time for a lot of the earthworks on our major projects.
“People can expect to see plenty of work sites over this period and although many of the sites will be closed around Christmas and New Year, traffic management at these sites will remain in place.
“Motorists should be patient and don’t try to overtake while crews set up and take down signs and cones. Traffic management is in place for the safety of road users and road workers. When motorists disregard the traffic management, they put everyone’s safety at risk.
“Speeding vehicles can flick up loose metal and other objects which are a danger to road workers and other road users. Motorists also have less control at higher speeds and may clip road cones and send them flying at our road workers or oncoming traffic, or lose control completely.
“Congestion and delays are inevitable at peak times, so people should factor this into their plans. Trying to ‘make up lost time’ by speeding and unsafe overtaking puts everyone on the road at risk. Even when it isn’t the direct cause, speed is often the difference between someone walking away unharmed or being seriously injured or killed. For everyone’s safety, please slow down.”
Improving safety on New Zealand roads is a top priority for Waka Kotahi. We are committed to Vision Zero, which aspires to a New Zealand where no-one is killed or seriously injured on our roads.
With fewer people travelling overseas because of Covid-19 this year, the Christmas and New Year holiday period is expected to be a very busy time on roads throughout greater Wellington. Work sites to look out for include the following.
The project team has changed the road layout at both the southern and northern limits of the site where the new motorway will meet the current state highway. The southern end (Linden – between Porirua and Tawa) will remain at 70km/h over the holiday period, while the northern section (Paekakariki) will remain at 80km/h. Where the expressway passes over SH58 (Pauatahanui) and the quarry access point (near Flightys Road) the temporary speed limit will remain at 50km/h.
The team will be busy continuing work through the holiday period, but the majority of work will be conducted away from the state highway to minimise the impact to drivers. Temporary traffic management will be minimised as much as possible, however site accesses will need to remain open and there will be trucks entering and exiting periodically.
Stage 1 of this project covers the stretch of highway from the Hayward's interchange to Mt Cecil Road. These roadworks involve widening the road to include an uphill crawler lane, adding sealed shoulders, installing road barriers and making curve corrections.
Construction will be halted through the holiday works moratorium period, however temporary traffic management will remain in place with a temporary speed limit of 50km/h throughout the site, for the safety of road users.
At the southern end, traffic is already diverted onto a new alignment - this road is set to become the local road after the expressway has been completed. The switch here is necessary to facilitate the construction of the main alignment of the expressway. A temporary speed limit of 70km/h will remain in place.
At the northern end of Ōtaki, there will be a temporary speed limit of 70km/h in place from the town limits until Taylors Road (usual speed limit of 50km/h from the BP station until the town limits will remain).
The majority of the temporary traffic management will be removed from the Te Horo area, and condensed on the side roads. Site accesses and unnecessary signage will be removed from the entire site through the holiday moratorium period and will be replaced when works resume.
There will be some resurfacing works in the new year which will be taking advantage of the lower traffic volumes. However, there will be no temporary traffic management in place over the moratorium period. This is scheduled to start on 6 January 2021 (subject to change and weather dependent).
Work will be underway over the next few weeks to contain loose material on the Ngauranga Gorge hillside to improve safety for motorists, cyclists and walkers.
The southbound shared path has been closed from 14 December 2020, with the left southbound traffic lane closing from 27 December 2020. Both the shared path and lane will be reopening 10 January 2021.
This is a key activity that will continue over the holiday period, due to the low traffic volumes.
Road repairs on SH2 Lower Hutt along River Road will commence on 4 January 2021. Detours will be in place diverting traffic onto the local roads.
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