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Big project for SH2 Remutaka Hill

State Highway 2 Remutaka Hill will be closed for 10 nights next month as part of a new NZTA Waka Kotahi road safety improvement and maintenance project that will involve a total of 30 overnight closures before its scheduled finish on June 21.

New side barriers and motorcycle under-barriers will be installed between the twin bridges on the Featherston side of the hill and Marchant Rd, Kaitoke, while road signs and markings on the hill will also be improved and upgraded.

According to NZTA regional manager Mark Owen, Remutaka Hill is one of the highest risk sections of highway in New Zealand, with 382 crashes on the route between 2014 and 2023 – five of which involved deaths and 29 resulted in serious injuries.

Because “over 60 per cent of those who were killed or seriously injured were motorcyclists,” Owen said that motorcyclist safety is a major focus of the improvement project, with 2.6km of new barrier with motorcycle underrun being added to the route’s existing 5.8km of underrun barrier.

“Under-barriers are a proven protection system that reduces the rate of deaths and serious injuries for motorcycle crashes,” Owen said.

“People make mistakes, and safety improvements like better barriers mean that when a mistake or crash occurs, there’s less chance of people being killed or seriously injured.”

As well as the human toll, crashes often cause SH2 Remutaka Hill to be closed to traffic during clean-ups and investigations, which can cause significant disruption to motorists given that the only other available route is via Horowhenua/ Kāpiti Coast, representing an approximately three-hour detour.

“This is a busy stretch of highway with over 7000 vehicles, on average, travelling over the hill each day,” Owen said.

“If we reduce the number of serious crashes, we cut the number of times the highway has to be closed to manage them.”

Over the recent summer period [December 1, 2023, to February 20] there were 14 crashes on the route, two of which resulted in the road being closed for a combined total of four hours.

Minimising disruption is also a key reason for NZTA electing to undertake the project at night, and do routine maintenance – including road resurfacing, clearing slips and rockfall, repairing potholes, and renewing line markings – at the same time.

Up to four years ago, NZTA did such maintenance work during the day, resulting in “around 300 stop/go road works carried out on the hill yearly, which meant drivers encountered road work delays almost daily,” Owen said.

Although more than 7000 vehicles use Remutaka Hill every day, “on average, just over 300 use the route at night. Night-time closures are, overall, far less disruptive for drivers. Also, they let our work crews deliver high-quality work much faster,” Owen said.

The overnight closures of SH2 Remutaka Hill next month will run from March 10-15 and 17-22, with the route closed from 9pm until 4am on each of these dates.

Escorted crossings for light vehicles will be available during these closure nights but it’s essential that these are booked in advance via the NZTA website [nzta.govt.nz, search for ‘Remutaka Hill Closure – Escort Booking Form’].

1 COMMENT

  1. So under barriers save motorcyclists lives? Why put scissors wire 🤔 from Masterton to clareville?.And please there are plenty of signs just take away the stupid 🙄 100k signs?. We need a fresh rethink of the Remutaka Hill rd is fit for purpose???? . If state highway 1 between
    Wellington and Shannon has a disruption? Then all heavy vehicles and others will have to use state highway 2 and the dangerous Remutaka Hill rd that is not fit for purpose example HEAVY VEHICLES 😢.

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