Roadworks kick off to make Wairarapa highways safer


It might sound like a bit of a stretch, but it could be argued that traffic cones are to summer as daffodils are to spring.

The NZ Transport Agency is advising motorists that with warmer, dryer weather arriving, the Wellington region’s biggest roadworks season ever is swinging into gear as crews swoop in to make our highways safe. 

Wairarapa is first in line, with crews expected to get most local work done by the end of November. This will leave Wairarapa’s highways in much better nick, just in time for the holiday season.

Regional performance manager Mark Owen says Wairarapa drivers are likely to encounter roadwork sites on the state highway network over the next few months, and should leave time up their sleeve for potential delays. The biggest job will be north of Greytown, where crews are going to reconstruct and resurface a section of State Highway 2 that has seen better days.

“We’re also going to fix the southbound passing lane between Carterton and Greytown which has been closed since August. Once it’s fixed, we can reopen the passing lane, which will be good news with summer holidays now on the horizon.”

There will also be work on the main road through Featherston, the Rimutaka Hill Road, and a number of other locations.

Mr Owen says the Transport Agency are 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 keep motorists and their passengers safe on our highways. 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,” said Mr Owen.

"When you see roadworks, that's means the highway is about to become safer to drive on."

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 Owen.

Mr Owen says traffic management including some speed restrictions will be in place from time to time, so motorists should plan ahead and leave extra time for their journeys.

He says it is crucial that motorists observe the speed restrictions at all times.

"The speed restrictions are there to protect both drivers and the road workers, so please stick to them no matter what - if it says 30 km/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 Owen 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.
 "If we did the work in winter, the cold ground would mean the new surface would harden and crack, plus the stones in the chip seal could pop out if exposed to cold weather within four weeks of application, and we’d just have to do the work all over again next year – causing you more inconvenience."