South and Mid-Canterbury summer highway work rolls out


South and Mid-Canterbury road users will start to notice more road crews and busy work sites from early October as the highway maintenance programme kicks off for another summer season. Pre-reseal repairs are underway at present, one highway area at a time.

“With the warmer and dryer weather approaching and daylight hours increasing, our crews will be delivering road reconstruction and resurfacing projects from now until the end of March, 2024,” says Tresca Forrester, Journey Manager for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. “People will need to start thinking about allowing additional time for their journeys.”

This year’s maintenance programme in South and Mid-Canterbury aims to reconstruct six kilometres of state highway network and complete 24 kilometres of resurfacing. 

“Waka Kotahi is planning to complete some of the most disruptive works at night, when possible, but this means that many sites will still be under temporary traffic management and speed restrictions during the day,” says Ms Forrester. “Just because crews are not there during the day does not mean work is completed. They will most often be back at night when traffic volumes are much lower and fewer people will be disrupted.

“Speed limits through work sites are also there for a good reason – to help keep you safe, prevent damage to your vehicle and to protect the crew and work being done. 

“Even if you can’t see workers on the road or it looks like work is finished when you come across a temporary speed limit sign, there could be uneven surfaces, loose chip from a recent reseal, workers underneath a bridge, just around the corner or on the side of the road.”

Major planned works and locations 

  1. Ashburton to Timaru: From Wednesday 4 October, Waka Kotahi starts two road rehabilitation sites on SH1 south of Hinds. There will be temporary speed limits during the day and night-time Stop/Go from Wednesday 18 October for up to eight weeks into December.
  2. Timaru township: From Sunday, 1 October, there will be around four weeks of night-time Stop/Go from Waimataitai St to Hobbs St for structural asphalt replacement.  After Canterbury Anniversary weekend (Monday, 17 November) we begin replacing the asphalt on Craigie Ave, Timaru in multiple sections from North St to King St under night-time Stop/Go for another two weeks into early December.
  3. Timaru South to Glenavy: A week’s worth of reseals in this area will start early November, under daytime Stop/Go and a road rehabilitation project just north of Glenavy may start late November.
  4. SH79 (Rangitata to Fairlie), SH8 (Washdyke into the hydro lakes/ Mackenzie District) and SH80, the Mt Cook/ Aoraki highway:  Two weeks’ of reseals are programmed to start towards the end of November and be finished before the lead-up to Christmas. 

In the New Year:

After Christmas we have reseals programmed for SH77, Ashburton to Darfield, and SH1, Rakaia to Ashburton, and a pavement overlay project near Ealing, Rangitata and also a six-eight week road rehabilitation project on SH8 near Coldstream, east of Fairlie. 

“If people can build in an extra 20 minutes to their journeys, it will help ease the pressure and reduce the temptation to make up the time if there is a short delay. This is safer for everyone – your own car and its passengers and other road users,” says Ms Forrester.

Quick tips/reminders for happy summer travel:

  • Remember, there will be delays on key routes.  Drivers should check road conditions before they travel – Waka Kotahi’s traffic pages(external link) and MetService for weather forecasts(external link)
  • Always take care when driving through road work sites and follow the temporary speed restrictions to ensure everyone stays safe. Our crews work in extremes of temperature year-round, they deserve to be safe.
  • Keeping your speed down where sealing work is underway or has just been completed not only helps chip to settle in the new road surface, it will also prevent stone chips flying into windscreens and protect road workers from injuries
  • Leave about two car lengths between you and the car in front.
  • Speed limits through work sites are there for a good reason – to help keep you safe and to protect the crew and work being done.
  • Even if you can’t see workers on the road or it looks like works are finished when you come across a temporary speed limit sign, safety hazards may still be present. There could be loose chip from a recent re-seal, workers underneath a culvert or bridge or on the side of the road.
  • Check out these tips for driving safely through chip seal