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Remutaka Hill transformed into 14km worksite during night closures

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State Highway 2 over the Remutaka Hill was transformed into a 14-kilometre worksite this week with nearly 100 crew working on up to 10 separate maintenance activities on the road each night.

The five-night block of closures started at 9pm on Sunday 3 March, with the road reopening by 4am each morning, and finished on the morning of Friday 8 March. A second block of night closures is scheduled for the end of the month, from Sunday night 24 March to Friday morning 29 March.

NZ Transport Agency Regional Transport Systems Manager Mark Owen says the primary reason for the night closures is to improve safety for the paving crew who are operating wide machinery on a very narrow stretch of road.

“Because the road needs to be closed to enable the resurfacing to be safely carried out on the narrow road, we are scheduling as many works as possible into the closure times to reduce day time stop/go works throughout the year,” Mr Owen says.

“We expect this will at least halve the 300 stop/go delays that road users have experienced when travelling over the Remutaka Hill during the day.”

Mr Owen says the main task during the closure is paving works, expected to cover more than 2,000 square metres of road per night.

“There will be two paving teams working on the hill with 30 trucks of asphalt and concrete delivered each night. We also have 10 road markers and, in the second week of closures, six abseilers doing work on the hill.

“For every night of the closures there could be up to 100 workers, doing up to 10 separate maintenance activities that would usually be a stop/go site on their own during the day when the road is open.”

Work completed during the first block of closures includes:

  • 15,666 square metres (3.5 kilometres of road lane) of paving (resurfacing)
  • Re-marking lane lines
  • 29.5 kilometres of mowing – some sections to 4.5 metres high, which is higher than possible during the day
  • Graffiti removal at Muldoon's Corner
  • 244 metres of crash damaged guardrail and posts repaired
  • 8.2 kilometres of channel clearing
  • 30 metres of drainage renewed
  • 200 metres of drainage relined
  • 6.5 kilometres of drainage inspected
  • 70 culvert inspections

The Transport Agency signalled the planned closures six weeks ago to give those impacted enough time to plan ahead. Following feedback from regular night-time Remutaka Hill road users, the closure time was reduced by one hour and a shuttle service made available for those unable to reschedule their journey or for whom the detour route is not viable, such as shift workers.

“We do appreciate how disruptive this is for some road users. We know there are many road users who have changed their plans due to the closures, including businesses, shift workers and concert goers, and we thank them for their patience and understanding,” Mr Owens says.

“We’ve also been working with shift workers to help them meet their work commitments. This includes providing a shuttle twice a night over the Hill during the closure so shift workers from the Wairarapa don’t need to drive the detour route to get home after a shift. The shuttle service has also been used by a some concert goers to return home to the Wairarapa.

“We also offered space for business to park trailers on the Upper Hutt side of the hill so they can get their goods over prior to the closure.”

Around 270 vehicles use the Remutaka Hill Road at night between 9pm and 4am, compared to around 6,400 vehicles during the day. As the main artery linking the Wairarapa and Wellington regions, effective maintenance of the road is critical for both the Wellington and Wairarapa communities.

Further information on the Remutaka Hill Road closures is available at www.nzta.govt.nz/remutaka(external link)

Shift workers wanting to register for the shuttle service should email remutaka@nzta.govt.nz

Photo of the Remutaka night works.

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