The NZ Transport Agency is asking people to allow extra time when travelling around the Bay of Plenty, as the region’s biggest road works season gets underway.
Transport Agency work crews will be making the most of the warmer, dryer weather over summer to make highways safer, and progress major projects such as the Maungatapu underpass.
Bay of Plenty journey manager Nigel D’Ath says drivers are likely to encounter speed restrictions and other traffic management at roadwork sites over the next few months, and should get in the habit of allowing extra time for their journeys.
Mr D’Ath says the Transport Agency is grateful to motorists for their patience and understanding at roadworks sites.
“We know roadworks can be a bit of a headache for motorists, but resealing the roads keeps people safe on our highways,” he says.
“Pot holes, cracked roads and roads that have come to the end of their natural life have reduced skid resistance, and this can increase the risk of crashes and injuries so it is important that we do this work and make our roads as safe as possible.”
He says regularly resurfacing the roads also prevents expensive long-term repairs.
“Maintaining the roads is like repainting your house to give it a protective seal from wear and tear and exposure to weather, as well as increase its durability," says Mr D’Ath.
Mr D’Ath says it is crucial that motorists observe the speed restrictions at all times at
“The speed restrictions are there to protect both drivers and the road workers, so please stick to them no matter what - if it says 30km/h, then that's the speed limit.
“Speed restrictions also help to prevent windscreen damage, which tends to arise from people driving too fast through roadworks sites and flicking up loose chips into other vehicles.
“Even if there is no work happening onsite, we ask that people keep their speeds down to let the new surface cure - otherwise it can get ripped up and we'll need to start all over again.”
Mr D’Ath says summer is the best time to reseal roads, as the warm temperatures and dry air helps the new seal to stick to the existing road surface.
“Cold ground conditions, wet weather and moisture makes maintenance work impossible during winter months. Cold air can cause surfaces to harden too quickly and create cracks and stones that pop out. Repairs done in winter are not as durable.
“Summer road works get the most effective results and the best value, and make sure that roads are maintained well for people.”
Mr D’Ath says the work crews will be focused on reducing delays where they can, and on some high volume traffic areas the work will be done overnight.
“We also limit works during holiday periods including Christmas, New Year, anniversary weekends and Waitangi weekend,” he says.
“We understand road works can inconvenience people on their journeys. Dust, noise, speed restrictions and detours can really frustrate drivers and passengers, which is why we’re giving people as much information as we can so they can be prepared and avoid frustrating delays.
“The more you plan the better prepared you will be for a more predictable journey.”
People can get information on road works and detours in the region they are in, or travelling to by checking www.nzta.govt.nz/summerjourneys <http://www.nzta.govt.nz/summerjourneys(external link)> , by calling 0800 444 449 or following the Transport Agency on Facebook or Twitter.