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Project introduction

State Highway 2 over the Remutaka Hill closes for its annual maintenance and slip prevention work on various nights between August 2022 and July 2023. The schedule is available on this page. The highway may have to close at other times for emergency works, weather or accidents.

  • Estimated project dates

    Aug 2022–Jun 2023
  • Project type

    Road maintenance

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Night closures 2022-2023

Nights

Start 9pm

Finish 4am

1

Sunday 14 August 2022

Monday 15 August 2022

5

Sunday 4 September 2022

Friday 9 September 2022

2

Sunday 9 October 2022

Tuesday 11 October 2022

5

Sunday 6 November 2022

Friday 11 November 2022

1

Sunday 8 January 2023

Monday 9 January 2023

5

Sunday 26 February 2023

Friday 3 March 2023

1

Sunday 9 April 2023

Monday 10 April 2023

*10

Sunday 14 May 2023

*Sunday 21 May 2023

Friday 19 May 2023

Friday 26 May 2023

1

Sunday 11 June 2023

Monday 12 June 2023

* Contingency - additional block of closures included in case a special resilience project is required.

Light vehicles can be escorted at intervals across the hill behind a pilot vehicle.

Bookings are essential and should be made with customer@wta.nzta.govt.nz Please also direct inquiries to this email address.

Access will be available for emergency services throughout the closures.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to make the road safer.

Background

The SH2 Remutaka Hill road is the main artery linking the Wellington and Wairarapa regions, with an average of  7,380 vehicles using the road daily.

Of these, around 310 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.

Following consultation with regular night-time hill road users, the first block of night-time closures occurred in March 2019. The immediate outcome was the delivery of higher quality maintenance work. Most importantly, full closures of the road at night improved the safety of maintenance crews who previously operated machinery in this very constrained environment. Road users experienced a dramatic reduction in the inconvenience of stop/go works to just five in the following six months.

The success of the March 2019 closures has been followed by a programme of up to 29 nights of closures per 'maintenance year' August to July since then, involving 5-night and 1-night closures spaced through the year.

While we achieve a year's worth of high quality maintenance during the relatively small number of closures, we remain aware that the Remutaka Hill Road is a high-use mountain road will always require ongoing maintenance to keep it safe and in optimal working order. Like a car, the more you use it, the more servicing it needs. As a mountain pass, the hill road experiences extremes of weather.

We give everyone early notice of the planned closures scheduled over the coming 12 months so people can plan their journeys well in advance. We provide a limited timetable of escorted crossings for light vehicles during the closures to assist shift workers and others with essential commitments.

The timetable depends on the type of works taking place and the few opportunities for crossings that are safe for both our workers and for the road users. Emergency services have access at all times.

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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