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Tairāwhiti state highway works back up and running from this week

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says state highway works in Tairāwhiti have started to resume this week under strict health and safety requirements in line with COVID-19 Alert Level 3.

While some essential state highway maintenance work continued during the lockdown in order to support the safe movement of essential goods and lifeline functions, all non-essential maintenance work and capital project work was stopped with the move to Alert Level 4 on March 26.

Regional Transport Systems Manager Oliver Postings says the safety of workers and road users is Waka Kotahi’s top priority.

“We're working closely with contractors on specific COVID-19 plans for each of our work sites. Each of these plans will align with the strict industry standards provided by Construction Health and Safety NZ.

“The transition back to on-site work is different for every project, and the timing will depend on the nature and complexity of work sites. Some on-site activity has resumed already, but it will take time for some sites and projects to be fully operational.”

Some Tairāwhiti state highway works that will be back up and running in Level 3 include:

  • SH2 and SH35, various locations throughout the district
    Culvert work, including cleaning and clearing of road side drains, over the next month. All sites will have stop/go traffic management in place, with the speed reduced to 30km/h.
  • SH35 Busby’s Hill, south of Tokomaru Bay
    Pre-winter maintenance, which involves digging into the bank and removing as much loose material as possible. This site is monitored daily as it continues to move due to the geology of the area. The road will be down to a single lane and stop/go traffic management will be in place, with the speed reduced to 30km/h.
  • SH35 Wainui Road, between Worsley Street and Murdoch Road
    Resurfacing works, from Monday 11 May to Wednesday 13 May between 9am and 2.30pm. The road will be down to a single lane and stop/go traffic management will be in place, with the speed reduced to 30km/h.
  • SH35 Wainui Road, between Rūtene Road and Mildura Place
    Resurfacing works, from Tuesday 12 May to Wednesday 13 May between 9am and 2.30pm. The road will be down to a single lane and stop/go traffic management will be in place, with the speed reduced to 30km/h.
  • SH35 Awapuni Road, between Grey Street and Customhouse Street 
    Resurfacing works, from Thursday 14 May to Saturday 16 May between 8am and 4pm. The road will be down to a single lane and stop/go will be in place, with the speed reduced to 30km/h.

“A range of new measures will be in place at all work sites, including restricted access to sites, requirements for workers to maintain physical distancing, and the use of additional protective clothing,” Mr Postings says.

“We are committed to getting New Zealand moving again, but we will not compromise on the safety of road workers or of road users.”

He encouraged people driving through worksites to be patient, cautious and comply with all temporary speed limits to keep workers safe.

“These people are stepping outside of their bubbles to do vital work to keep all of us safe. Please be careful, be kind and do your part to ensure they make it home safe at the end of the day.”

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