Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says state highway works in the Bay of Plenty will resume from today (Tuesday 28 April), as the country moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3.
While some essential state highway maintenance work has continued during the lockdown in order to keep the network safe for the movement of essential goods and to support lifeline functions, all non-essential maintenance work and capital project work was stopped with the move to Alert Level 4 on March 26.
Director Regional Relationships Steve Mutton says the safety of workers and road users is Waka Kotahi’s top priority, and we're working with contractors on specific COVID-19 plans for each of our work sites. Every one of these plans will align with the strict industry standards provided by Construction Health and Safety NZ.
“The transition back to on-site work will be different for every project, and the timing will depend on the nature and complexity of work sites. Some on-site activity will be able to resume straight away, but it will take time for some sites and projects to be fully operational.”
Key Bay of Plenty projects that will resume from today include:
Waka Kotahi expects to be able to provide more detail on individual projects over the next week.
Maintenance work will also resume across the Bay of Plenty, with Waka Kotahi’s contractors working hard to make the most of reduced traffic on the roads under Alert Level 3.
Mr Mutton says work at Alert Level 3 will not look like pre-pandemic work.
“A range of new measures will need to be in place, including restricted access to sites, requirements for workers to maintain physical distancing, and the use of additional protective clothing.
“At all Waka Kotahi sites, crews will go through a COVID-19 induction and learn the new practices and protocols (for that site/project) to keep them, the surrounding community and road users safe.
“Crews will form small working ‘bubbles’ who will stick together throughout the day while maintaining safe social distance, and where they are working away from home, will also share accommodation and travel bubbles.
“We are committed to getting New Zealand moving again, but we will not compromise on the safety of road workers or of road users.”
He encouraged people driving through worksites to be patient, cautious and comply with all temporary speed limits to keep workers safe.
“These people are stepping outside of their bubbles to do vital work to keep all of us safe. Please be careful, be kind and do your part to ensure they make it home safe at the end of the day.”
For further information on the resumption of state highway work see our COVID-19 Roadworks and projects FAQ page(external link).
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