Traffic at a standstill on SH2 mid-morning on Monday. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN

KAREN COLTMAN
karen.coltman@age.co.nz

By 10.30am on Monday traffic had been at a standstill for nearly an hour on SH2 just north of Carterton up to Waingawa Bridge and south from Masterton.

Vehicles were stuck nose to tail and stationary.

People got out of cars to look and some got back in and did u-turns on the state highway.

A stop-go traffic management system was put in place at 9.30am so that traffic control loops could be repaired.

But the work was called off when the cars were banking up north and south for four kilometres in each direction.

Traffic Management New Zealand said it was carrying out the traffic management plan as organised by Capital Journeys [contracted to New Zealand Transport Agency] but saw that stopping workday traffic in the morning was creating nose to tail queues. The team was also receiving verbal abuse from frustrated motorists.

TMNZ team leader Johnny Black said he could quickly see it was just “not happening”. He and co-leader Sama Eli contacted Capital Journeys and the work was called off so the traffic could clear.

“It was horrendous, and we were getting sworn at and frankly that was probably justified,” Black said.

“There was way, way too much traffic on the road for this work to be done during the day and it was in my view a bad decision to consider doing it at that time,” he said.

Last week when it was attempted to get the work started a small truck stuck in traffic pulled out to try and overtake at double yellow lines causing a car accident, Black said.

“Being nose to tail on a main highway and then at a stop-start pace is just too dangerous. It was an accident waiting to happen with miles and miles of vehicles backed up.”

The repair work is rescheduled to be done overnight this Thursday.

There was also a traffic disruption in Tauherenikau at 4.25pm on Monday after a two-vehicle crash on SH2.

There were no injuries, but both vehicles were initially blocking the road.

Contractors were called in to tow them.