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SH2 Remutaka Hill road night closures

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Project introduction

State Highway 2 (SH2) over the Remutaka Hill will be closed on four Sunday nights and three blocks of five nights between 10 November 2019 and 14 September 2020 for its annual maintenance and slip prevention work.

  • Estimated project dates

    Nov 2019
  • Project type

    Road maintenance
  • Project status

    Maintenance

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Closure times and closure points 2019–2020

The Remutaka Hill road full night closures from 9pm to 4am during the period between 10 November 2019 and 14 September 2020. Note that all vehicles on the Remutaka Hill prior to 9pm will be able to exit on the other side.

Start date End date No. of nights
Sun 10 Nov 2019, 9pm Mon 11 Nov 2019, 4am 1
Sun 24 Nov 2019, 9pm Fri 29 Nov 2019, 4am 5
Sun 12 Jan 2020, 9pm Fri 17 Jan 2020, 4am 5
Sun 5 Apr 2020, 9pm Mon 6 Apr 2020, 4am 1
Sun 3 May 2020, 9pm Fri 8 May 2020, 4am 5
Sun 12 Jul 2020, 9pm Mon 13 Jul 2020, 4am 1
Sun 13 Sep 2020, 9pm Mon 14 Sep 2020, 4am 1

Access will be available for emergency services throughout the closure.

The night-time closures will increase safety for maintenance crews, significantly reduce the number of day time disruptions on the Hill Road and enable better quality maintenance and slip prevention work.

The maintenance works will ensure the road is in good condition, and the slip prevention works will improve accessibility by reducing the risk of falling rocks and debris on to the road.

  • Closure points

    The closure points are the Pākuratahi Bridge on the Upper Hutt side and the twin bridges on the Featherston side. These are the same closure points as when the Remutaka Hill road is closed due to snow or high winds.

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  • Contact us

    A limited shuttle service will be provided for shift workers and others with essential commitments.  

    If you have any particular concerns about these planned closures, including shift work, contact us at remutaka@nzta.govt.nz

    One of our team will contact you to discuss your particular situation.

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Background

The SH2 Remutaka Hill road is the main artery linking the Wellington and Wairarapa regions, with an average of over 6,650 vehicles using the road daily. Of the 6,650 vehicles, around 291 use the road between 9pm and 4am. With the nearest detour route over 100km away, effective maintenance of the road is critical for both the Wellington and Wairarapa communities.

The steep, narrow hill road is a difficult road to maintain. We previously maintained the road with approximately 300 stop/go road works during the year, mostly during the day. Road users faced delays nearly every day and there were several close calls for our workers.

This difficult working environment did not meet our safety requirements for our workers or for road users. It also did not enable the road to be maintained to the standard we expect.

The two block closures that occurred in March 2019 reduced the inconvenience of stop/go works to just five in the following six months and delivered higher quality maintenance work.

Most importantly, full closures of the road at night improved the safety of maintenance crews who previously operated machinery in a very constrained environment.

While we achieved a lot of high quality work during the closures in March, the Remutaka Hill Road is a high-use mountain road that requires ongoing maintenance to keep it safe and in optimal working order. Like a car, the more you use it, the more servicing it needs.

Based on these positive results, we’ll look to continue with night time road closures for maintenance work on the Hill Road in the coming years whilst we continue to monitor the benefits and impact to road users.

We also captured community and road user feedback to seek opportunities to improve the night time closure process in the future.

We're giving everyone early notice of the planned closures scheduled over the next 12 months so people can plan their journeys well in advance.

Work activities

Find out about the type of activities we're working on:

  • Slip prevention works

    From May 2020, we are also starting important slip prevention works on the Hill Road during the night time closures to protect road users and improve accessibility of the road. 

    There is a 260m length of slope on the hill that needs essential work to reduce the risk of falling rock and debris on to the road.

    We will be using a long-reach excavator to remove around 40 truck loads of loose material from the slope face at heights of up to 12 to 15m above the road.

    All of the work will be done at night, and the material brought down will be removed each night.

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  • Maintenance works

    While the maintenance closures are to primarily enable road resurfacing (paving) to be safely done, we are scheduling as many works as possible into the closure times to reduce stop/go works throughout the year. This means the entire hill, from gate to gate, will be a worksite. At any time during the closures there could be 100 workers, doing up to 10 separate maintenance activities on the hill including:

    • Paving works (primary activity)
    • Road marking
    • Mowing and landscaping
    • Road inspections
    • Drainage inspections
    • Guardrail repair works
    • Signage maintenance
    • Edge marker post maintenance
    • Sump clearance
    • Road sweeping (includes litter collection, channel clearance etc).
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Works completed and impact on traffic

Summary of works completed during the two blocks of overnight closures in March 2019.

  • Full description of works completed
    • 20,612 square metres – 4.1 lane kilometres – of paving (road resurfacing) including a long 600 metre length on the straight and curves north of Pākuratahi, and several shorter sections on both the Featherston and Kaitoke sides of the hill
    • 418 square metres of road surface repairs
    • Re-marking lane lines
    • 3 kilometres of rumble strips installed to improve road safety
    • Inspections to check the skid resistance of the road (SCRIM)
    • 44.5 kilometres of mowing – some sections to 4.5 metre high, higher than possible during the day
    • 479 metres of high shoulder clearance
    • 48 kilometres of weed spraying
    • Graffiti removal at Muldoon's Corner
    • 220 metres of crash damaged guardrail and posts repaired
    • 780 metres of guardrail reflectors installed
    • 8.2 kilometres of channel clearing
    • 9.5 kilometres of drainage inspected, cleared and repaired
    • 40 metres of drainage renewed
    • 6.5 kilometres of drainage inspected
    • 138 culvert inspections
    • 46 signs repaired or replaced.
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  • Remutaka Hill road impact on traffic as of 1 October 2019

    By shifting from day works to night time closure works, we reduced the number of stop/go works on the Hill Road – dramatically.

    There have been just five stop/go works on the Remutaka Hill road in the past six months (29 March to 30 September 2019), compared to approximately 150 in the past six months and 300 in the full year prior to the closures.

    Before Stop/go works from 1 September 2018 to 1 March 2019 (6 months) 151
    March 2019 night closures of Remutaka Hill road 9
    After Stop/go works from 1 April to 1 October 2019 (6 months) 5
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