The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is advising motorists to allow extra time for their journeys now that crucial roadworks on SH1 at Paekakariki have restarted following the Easter break.
NZTA Operations Manager for Wellington Mark Owen says that work resurfacing the road between MacKays Crossing and Beach Road will continue until May, followed by work at Otaihanga, and he urged drivers to be prepared to allow extra time for their journeys, particularly during peak time.
The work involves ripping out the old road overnight, and replacing it with a new, safer surface that had better resilience to damage and improved skid resistance.
“We are doing the work at night to minimise delays, but that while this approach helps to reduce delays, it does not eliminate them.”
“The alternative would be to do this work during the day, which would restrict the highway to one lane and worsen delays, or to not do the work at all, in which case the road would eventually become unsafe and break up.
“We’re urging people to allow an extra half hour for their travel during peak hour while this work is completed.”
Mr Owen said the delays may decrease as motorists get used to travelling over the new road surface, and that the NZTA would continue to monitor and refine traffic management.
Mr Owen said many people had asked why a lower speed limit remained in place during the day, when work was on hold.
“At night, our crews are digging out the entire road and replacing it with a brand new road surface. That new surface is initially vulnerable until it cures, and we need to keep speeds down to avoid vehicles damaging the new pavement and road surface.
“We understand the frustration caused by delays from roadworks, but the reality is that these delays are unavoidable because this work must be carried out to keep the road safe for everyone who uses it. Rebuilding the road surface needs to happen every so often – it’s the roading equivalent of replacing a pair of shoes after the soles have worn down – and we have to change our shoes while we’re still running, which is an added challenge.
“Delays are always a headache, but if we didn’t do this work, the road surface would lose its waterproofing and become unsafe, and also develop potholes and other problems.”
Mr Owen says thatdrivers had largely been very understanding about the need for the roadworks and the subsequent increased journey times, and he thanked the public for their ongoing patience while the NZTA completes this essential work.