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Essential work continues on Wellington and Wairarapa highways

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is advising that work will continue on Wellington and Wairarapa state highways to ensure the roads remain safe for essential workers, for the movement of essential goods and to support lifeline functions during the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown.

Major project work is not seen as an essential service and has been stood down while New Zealand is at Level 4, as has non-essential maintenance activities. This means construction worksites for major projects have closed down under Level 4, with only essential work to ensure security, safety and environmental protection of sites permitted.

For state highway maintenance, Waka Kotahi is only undertaking safety or incident response-related activities, to keep the road network fully operational, especially to ensure that freight, essential workers and others that need to travel can do so safely.

“Maintenance activities are permitted only if they address immediate risks to safety, property or the environment and/or for nationally important infrastructure,” Regional Maintenance and Operations Manager Mark Owen says.

“Services to maintain and protect worksites to ensure they are safe will also continue, including traffic management and environmental controls. We will monitor environmental risks and traffic management plans to protect each site and make sure they are safe for people who need to travel.

“Waka Kotahi will ensure that all temporarily closed worksites on our state highways remain safe for people on the roads, and appropriate traffic management measures will be in place.”

In the Wellington region, these sites include:

  • State Highway 1 Transmission Gully motorway project
  • State Highway 1 Peka Peka to Otaki expressway project
  • State Highway 1 Mackays to Peka Peka revocation
  • State Highway 2 Petone to Melling walking and cycling path (Te Ara Tupua) project
  • State Highway 58 safety improvements project – phases 1 and 2a
  • Wellington Network Operational Readiness project (with the exception of urgent work at Churton Park interchange, associated with this project).

Planning and administrative support work will continue remotely where possible, in preparation for returning to work under the various alert levels.

Mr Owen is reminding people to be patient and respectful to roadworkers and look out for their safety and wellbeing.

“If you see contractors out on the roads during the lockdown period, please remember that they are carrying out essential work to keep us all safe.

“Please remember to comply with any temporary speed reductions through roadworks to keep our workers safe.

“We’d also like to remind the public that they must stay out of worksites for their own safety, even if they appear to be inactive. There may be vehicles or machinery undertaking site safety, security or environmental protection work. Having members of the public onsite presents a risk to our essential workers and to the person’s own safety.

“People should only head out for essential supplies or services, otherwise, please stay safe and stay home. If you must drive to access essential supplies or services please take care, drive to the conditions and adhere to the speed limits.”

People are also encouraged to call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS to report any urgent safety issues on the state highway network.

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