Final push to complete SH33 safety improvements


Work is about to get underway on one of the final sections of the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency State Highway 33 Te Ngae Junction to Paengaroa project.

Waka Kotahi Regional Manager Infrastructure Delivery Jo Wilton says over the next six months the focus is on one of the last sections of the $34.5 million safety improvements project.

“Starting from Monday, work will get underway on a 2.1km section between the Sun Valley Curves passing lane and the recently completed passing lane on the hill towards Rotorua.

“To make this section of road safer we’re widening the shoulders and installing flexible safety barriers along the roadside where there are hazards such as trees and deep ditches. Before the safety improvements are made, a full road reconstruction will also be completed, to provide more strength and skid resistance to the surface,” says Ms Wilton.

To do this work as safely and efficiently as possible, the 2.1km length will be split into six 750m sections, with work completed one lane at a time under Stop/Go using traffic lights. Motorists can expect to wait up to five minutes at the lights.

“The team on the ground will be monitoring traffic, but people should expect the Stop/Go to create some minor delays. We thank road users for their patience while this important work is underway,” says Ms Wilton.  

Each section will follow the same process. The contractor will mill or grind away the old road surface, lay metal on top, compact and stabilise the metal by adding cement, then allow it to cure. Next, chip seal will be laid, then compacted. Once the new road has been laid, new line marking and roadside barriers will be installed before it’s reopened to traffic. Each section will take approximately 20-30 days to complete, weather dependent.

To keep everyone safe, work on the road is planned to take place during daylight hours, between 7am and 7pm, using traffic lights at the active sites. Outside of these hours the traffic lights will remain in place. People are asked to take extra care when travelling through the site by following the 30km/h temporary speed limit and the directions from traffic management staff and signs.

Waka Kotahi is committed to Vision Zero, a vision for Aotearoa New Zealand where no one is killed or seriously injured on our roads. Road and roadside safety improvements have been underway since late 2017 as part of the SH33 Te Ngae Junction to Paengaroa safety improvements project. This road was identified as a high-risk rural road, and the safety improvements are part of the Safe Network Programme.

The SH33 safety improvements also include a wide centreline from Te Ngae to Paengaroa, flexible roadside safety barriers at high risk locations, safety improvements in Mourea, Ōkere Falls and Paengaroa, rumble strips and a south-bound passing lane between Paengaroa and Ōkere Falls.

The 34km route is being completed progressively in stages and is expected to be finished in the 2021/2022 construction season.

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