Construction workers on two sections of State Highway 1 through the Dome Valley north of Warkworth are switching from night shifts to work during the day this week to take advantage of reduced traffic flows during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Auckland will be in an Alert Level 3 lockdown for at least a week from today while the rest of the country is at Alert Level 2.
Work on Stages 3 and 5 of the Dome Valley safety improvements project started late last year and include widening the existing road and construction of retaining walls and soil nailed walls to stabilise the roadside embankment on either side of the road summit.
“The crews usually work nights on this busy state highway to minimise disruption to freight connections and the travelling public, but we noticed during the Alert Level 3 lockdown earlier this month that daytime traffic numbers reduced considerably,” says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency National Manager Infrastructure Delivery, Andrew Thackwray.
“Starting tomorrow, we can take advantage of there being less traffic and it will be a win-win situation. It should help us complete the work more quickly and that will reduce disruption for road users travelling through the Dome Valley.”
“By switching to day shifts, our crews can work much more effectively and accelerate the work programme. Working during the day will also be a much safer working environment as currently they are working in an area close to overhead power lines.”
“There will be temporary speed limits and stop/go traffic management while crews are working between 7:00am and 5:00pm. They will monitor the traffic queues to ensure that delays are kept to a minimum. We thank motorists in advance for their patience and understanding and ask them to plan ahead and allow more time for their journey.”
It’s not the first time the project has taken advantage of a COVID-19 lockdown. Last August, crews working on Stage 2 near SheepWorld switched to day shifts for a time while Auckland was in Alert Level 3.
The Dome Valley safety improvements project is split into five stages along the 15km section of SH1 from Wellsford to north of Warkworth. In Stage 4 at the northern end of the project, pavement works are completed with the installation of 2.2kms of wire rope barrier in the road centre line south of Wayby Valley Road due to start at the end of the week. Stage 2 closer to Warkworth was completed before Christmas. Stages 3 and 5 are expected to be completed towards the end of 2021.
The Dome Valley safety improvements are part of Waka Kotahi’s commitment to help deliver Road to Zero, the government’s road safety strategy for 2020-2030, which aims to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 40 percent over the next 10 years.