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Essential work continuing on Manawatū/Whanganui highways

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Waka Kotahi is advising that work is continuing on state highways in the Manawatū and Whanganui region 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 sites 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.

“We will only be carrying out maintenance activities that are required to address immediate risks to safety, property or the environment and/or for nationally important infrastructure,” Regional Manager, Maintenance and Operations Jaclyn Hankin says.

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

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

In the wider Manawatū and Whanganui region, these temporarily closed sites include:

  • Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway project
  • State Highway 4 Whanganui to Raetihi repairs
  • State Highway 57 Levin safety improvements

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

Ms Hankin asks people to be patient and respectful to roadworkers and look out for their safety and wellbeing.

“Our contractors are doing vital work to keep us all safe. If you are using the roads during this time, 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, 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 their safety, as well as the safety of our workers.

“People should only head out for essential supplies or services, otherwise, please stay safe and stay home. For those who 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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