The NZ Transport Agency is advising motorists to allow extra time for their journeys with delays likely to continue for southbound traffic on State Highway 1 between Paraparaumu and Paekakariki over the next few days, due to roadworks in Paekakariki.
NZTA regional operations manager Mark Owen says the southbound lanes of State Highway 1 from the veggie shop north of Paekakariki to just south of Beach Road are being reconstructed and resealed to replace the worn out seal and provide a new higher quality surface. However, weather has halted progress and is causing delays, particularly for morning commuter traffic.
"Roadworks require dry weather, and unfortunately a sudden and intense period of rain in the middle of the job has affected the quality of the work, resulting in delays. We share the frustration of drivers, we apologise for the inconvenience this is causing and we thank everyone sincerely for their patience.
“We assure those affected that while further delays are expected for southbound traffic in the coming days, we are working hard to keep these to a minimum. As soon as we have a significant break in the rain, we'll be laying down a temporary smooth surface to make driving easier and safer.
"Even with people returning to work, commuter traffic levels are lower in January which generally makes roadworks less disruptive. On this occasion, however, a combination of surface flooding, the roadworks and the impact of the weather on surfacing have resulted in some major delays."
Mr Owen says the NZTA try to schedule road resealing during the summer months because the (usually) warm temperatures and dry conditions help the new surface to set. Cold weather can cause the new surface to crack and stone chips to ping out, which means the work needs to be carried out all over again.
In addition, with many people taking leave the traffic is spread more evenly throughout the day. On average in January there is about 25% to 30% less traffic travelling in peak commuter hours than in February, March and other months.
“We realise it’s very frustrating being stuck in traffic and we apologise for the delays people have experienced. We know that people consider that this is a busy time of year, and while there are more holiday travellers during the day, the impact on commuters is generally less that it would be if we left the roadworks until March and April when everyone is back at work." says Mr Owen.
Mr Owen says that road crews would be actively managing traffic through the site to help reduce disruption. He says that while the work is being done at night time to keep disruption to a minimum, some daytime work may be needed in coming days to help resolve the issues before the Wellington Anniversary Weekend.