Reseal-rehab for roads in Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago ends for another summer season


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s summer works have come to a close with crews completing the equivalent of 80km of new road seal across the network over three months.

This included sites across the district from Makarora, Wye Creek and Kyeburn to Roxburgh, says Robert Choveaux, Waka Kotahi Senior Network Manager for Central Otago.

This year’s resealing also brought a four-year programme on State Highway 6A/ Frankton Road to a close.  Over four seasons, and more than 40 shifts, crews laid approximately 7000 tonnes of asphalt on the entrance to Queenstown alone.

“The existing surface was coming to the end of its natural life and in need of replacement for everyone’s safety,” Mr Choveaux says.

The resealing, by Aspiring Highways for Waka Kotahi, is done over the warmer months to ensure it is effective and long-lasting. 

Pictured above: Aspiring Highways’ crews work on State Highway 85,
between Alexandra and Ranfurly. (Photos courtesy: Aspiring Highways)

Mr Choveaux says the summer timing comes with its own challenges.

“While we need to complete these works over the summer period, this is often when there is more traffic and we need to work around this.

“For 6A/Frankton Road, it is a residential area and its proximity to town means works always have a bigger impact for nearby residents.”

During each construction season, the team assesses how to mitigate the impact on road users, particularly on a continuous stretch of highway, in an urban environment, or where alternative routes are not available.

Between Drift Bay and Wye Creek on State Highway 6 (a 4km stretch), crews installed stop-go sections at various stages to minimise delays as much as possible.

Mr Choveaux says night works pose a challenge also each year.

“We fully appreciate we are often using noisy machinery directly outside a house.  However, due to the nature of what we do we don’t always have an option of doing this during the day. Doing this at night allows us to minimise traffic delays overall where they can peak at up to 23,000 vehicles a day.” 

Summer works also included “pavement rehabilitation”.

“This is where the underlying surface would no-longer support the application of regular chip-seal. In two sites we also lifted the road an additional 20cm to support drainage and provide additional strength.

“At our Sheepskin site, 3km east of Luggate on SH6, we laid 2400 tonnes of aggregate over approximately a 1km section. At Blue Gums, 3.5 km south of Tarras on SH8, this was 1300 tonnes over a half kilometre stretch of road.”

The crew also successfully trialled escorted convoys and full overnight closures in the Kawarau Gorge.  Mr Choveaux described it as a “challenging environment.”

“There are particularly narrow stretches of road, significant drops to the Kawarau River and multiple winding corners to navigate.  By deciding to close the road completely, rather than operate timed stop-go, we were able to focus solely on the works.

“This has a dual purpose: providing a safe work environment for our crews with no traffic to worry about and quality management where the success of the sealing could be better controlled resulting in a high-quality job.”

Mr Choveaux recognised the inconvenience for some drivers and thanked road users for their patience.

And while the re-sealing project may have come to a close for the 21/22 construction season, plans are already underway for next year.

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