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.