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Frustration mounts along SH2

Firefighters are missing callouts and business owners are losing tens of thousands of dollars in trade as travellers on Wairarapa’s busiest road are made to take a 9.7km diversion.

New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi [NZTA] is carrying out a deep road replacement of a 500-metre section of SH2 at the north end of Carterton, and motorists travelling south are being diverted east along a series of country roads to bypass a 1.5km stretch of road.

Motorists are not the only ones inconvenienced by the extraordinary detour, as some fire brigade volunteers north of the roadworks cannot make it to callouts.

Carterton Volunteer Fire Brigade member and former chief Wayne Robinson lives north of the road works and has found he cannot make the station before the appliances leave.

“It used to take three and half minutes, it now takes 12 minutes,” Robinson said.

“There’s been about three or four callouts that I haven’t gone to because, by the time I get there, the trucks are all gone.”

Robinson said there are three volunteers in the same position, which has an impact on staff numbers for emergencies.

“It could be a medical call, and they’re waiting for one or two more people to turn up, and they might have to wait another 10 minutes for crews to turn up.”

Carterton fire chief Bryan Styles agreed the current situation is “bloody inconvenient” but it is not putting lives at risk. He is hoping they might come to an agreement with road crews to let volunteers through at night.

“If it’s going to be going on for another two or three weeks, that would definitely make it a lot easier for us,” Styles said.

Businesses are also struggling to cope with the disruption, which could last for five weeks in total.

Muru Patel of the North End Store has been so frustrated by the impact on his business, which he estimates could have losses of $50,000-$60,000, that he threw marking cones across the road and police were called.

“In the past three weeks I’ve lost two thirds of my revenue. The first week’s revenue was not even 10 per cent of normal takings.”

Patel has business disruption insurance, but his insurance company told him he isn’t covered because it is a “planned closure”.

A Somerset Rd resident told the Times-Age there is constant road noise, and many drivers are not travelling at the 70kph temporary speed limit, but NZTA has been good at communicating with homeowners.

NZTA Wellington Transport Alliance work crews began the road reconstruction on June 3, and a spokesman said they expect to be finished by late June, “weather permitting”.

“We appreciate that this work has been heavily disruptive for the community; however, it is crucial that we complete this work. The road condition through this part of Carterton was in a poor state and needs comprehensive work.

“The investment being made now will result in a much improved and resilient road – one that will need fewer repairs in the future.”

The spokesperson said all emergency service vehicles will be let through the work site at all times as long as they are flashing their lights.

“We have communicated directly with all emergency organisations to let them know.”

Carterton Mayor Ron Mark said the work needs to be done but it has been painful for the community.

“What’s been a massive challenge is the traffic management plan around it, which does my bloody head in.”

State highways are owned and managed by the transport agency, while local roads belong to local councils and also receive Government subsidies.

2 COMMENTS

  1. A bypass is needed it was never going to last having a highway going through towns because they keep increasing with the population growth. Only towns with small population suffer from a bypass others get larger? No one wants a highway 😕 going through its main town center.

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