The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is advising motorists to use alternative routes to State Highway 29 over the Kaimais later this month while maintenance and safety works are carried out on the Bay of Plenty side of the highway.
A section of SH29 at Ruahihi Bluffs (approximately 17km west of Tauranga near the Ruahihi Power Station) will be closed on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 June for most of that weekend; and again for periods of one hour, intermittently on the following Monday to Wednesday (25, 26 and 27 June).
The weekend closures will be between 7.30am and 5.00pm to allow the bulk of the work to be carried out. Intermittent closures on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (25-27 June) will take place for an hour at a time at 10.00 am, noon and 2.00 pm to allow for the remainder of the work to be completed.
Bay of Plenty state highways manager, Brett Gliddon, says the closures will enable workers to remove overhanging trees and large rocks from the Ruahihi Bluffs slope. “These trees and rocks are a potential risk to the safety of people using the highway, so it’s important that we take proactive steps to remove them now – before they cause an issue.”
“We are very aware that SH29 is a high use highway,” says Mr Gliddon. “That’s why we’ve timed the major part of the works to take place over the weekend, when heavy freight traffic volumes are lower than levels during the week. The follow up work from Monday to Wednesday has also been planned to minimise disruption to school traffic, by keeping the one-hour closure periods away from the beginning and end of the school day.”
Mr Gliddon says closing the road while the work is being carried out is essential to ensure the safety of road users and the crews during the removal of the trees and rocks. “As always, we will do our best to keep delays to minimum and there will be alternative routes available.”
Mr Gliddon says motorists are being encouraged to use alternative routes and should plan ahead to include the extra time required for their journeys. “People travelling between Tauranga and Auckland or Tauranga and the upper Waikato should take SH2. People travelling between Tauranga and the lower Waikato should take SH36 and SH5.”
A detour route will also be in place and traffic controllers will divert traffic via Poripori Road through to Crawford Road, Wairoa Road and back onto SH2. However Mr Gliddon says the detour route will add an additional 30 minutes to journey time and it is not suitable for carrying large volumes of traffic. “Motorists could also be delayed on this detour by the single lane bridge onCrawford Road. That’s why it would be preferable for people to use the alternative state highway routes instead wherever possible.”
“We apologise for the temporary inconvenience while this work is being carried out and we appreciate people’s understanding of the long term safety benefits it will achieve. We’d like to thank motorists for their patience and we hope they will be able to make the best use of the diversion and alternative routes provided.”
Motorists wanting to find out more about this road works or the detour route in place should go to the NZTA’s website at www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/current-conditions/index.html(external link) or freephone 0800 4HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).