Summer road works ramping up in Hawke‘s Bay

6 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineNovember 27, 2020

The NZ Transport Agency is working hard to complete an extensive programme of road repairs and resurfacing on state highways throughout Hawke‘s Bay by Christmas.

This summer season the NZTA is working to renew 59.6 lane kilometres of state highway in Hawke‘s Bay, and is on track to complete about 70 percent of that before the Christmas holiday break.

“The $5 million repair and resurfacing programme in Hawke‘s Bay is part of a $127 million dollar investment in maintaining and improving state highways across the country to make them safer and more resilient,” says regional transport systems manager Oliver Postings.

“There will be 2400 work sites throughout the country, which will see around 8 percent of the total state highway network resealed or repaired. That‘s about 1900 lane kilometres of road, or the equivalent of a single lane from Bluff to Kaitaia.”

Postings says the resurfacing programme for Hawke‘s Bay over the next five years will see an even higher total percentage of the region‘s total state highway network resealed or repaired, up to 10 to 12 percent per year.

“Over the past few weeks, road resurfacing has been focused on SH38 and SH2 north of Napier and we‘re aiming to have this work completed by Christmas.

“From Monday 30 November, we will start work on SH5 repairs and resurfacing. Key areas to will be resealed include the Tarawera Hill area, the passing lane south of Mohaka Bridge, and the Titiokura Summit. This is also expected to be completed in time for Christmas, depending on weather.

“October through to March is our peak maintenance period so expect to see plenty of work sites during this time. Daylight hours are longer over the spring and summer months and the warm temperatures and dry air over this period helps new seal stick to the road surface.”

Postings advises motorists to take care on the roads during the busy summer months.

“The roads are very busy over summer, with more people travelling to holiday destinations and more work sites and road workers.

“NZTA is leading a road safety campaign alongside police to create more driver awareness about safer speeds and driving to the conditions along SH5.

“People may have noticed our billboards along the road, which are there to remind motorists that we all have a part to play in making sure we adhere to the speed limits and drive to the conditions so that everyone can get to their destinations safely.

“We also want to remind motorists to be patient at work sites and be mindful of our crews working hard to keep our roads safe.

“Traffic management, such as temporary speed limits, signs and cones, is used to alert road users to a change in the road or to works ahead, and it helps to ensure the safety of our road workers.

“Please be patient and don‘t try to overtake while our crews set up and take down traffic management signs and cones. When motorists disregard the traffic management, they put their safety, and that of other road users and our road workers at risk.

“Speeding through work sites is a major problem. Speeding vehicles can flick up loose metal and other objects that are a danger to workers and other road users. Motorists also have less control at higher speeds. They may clip road cones and send them flying at our workers or oncoming traffic, or lose control completely.

“Ultimately, motorists need to put themselves in the boots of our workers and understand the real danger that bad driving behaviour can create, not just for our workers, but for themselves and other road users.

“Roadworkers are someone‘s husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister. They go to work, do long hours, and expect to go home safely at the end of the day.”

Apart from emergency callouts, all road works will be paused from 23 December to 5 January, keeping the roads clear for people to travel safely over what is expected to be a busy Christmas holiday period.

“Even when no one is on site working, we may leave speed limits in place to protect road users. We need to consider things like reduced visibility and temporary surfaces at night, in bad weather and for vulnerable road users, like motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians. We need to identify any hazards and alert motorists to changes they may not be expecting, like reduced road widths.

“Many people overestimate the time they would lose if they drove at a slower speed. Safety is our top priority and if people don‘t adhere to the safe speeds in place through our work sites, we may need to use more restrictive temporary traffic management, such as road closures, which will have a bigger impact on travel time.”