Waka Kotahi has begun extensive resurfacing work on State Highway 2 between Carterton and Masterton.
The work will not only complete ongoing projects on this stretch of SH2 but is also intended to resolve numerous pothole issues.
The safety improvement project, which began in late July 2022, has been an ongoing source of controversy in the region, with many motorists frustrated by the resulting traffic delays, reduced speed limits, and uneven surfaces.
“We realise this last step has been a while coming,” Waka Kotahi Regional manager for infrastructure delivery Jetesh Bhula said.
“But the nature of road surfacing is such that it has to be done during warm and dry conditions to be effective and to ensure the new road surface bonds properly. It could not be done during winter’s wet and cold conditions.”
Depending on weather conditions, the work – which includes painting new road markings – is scheduled to be completed by Thursday, December 14,
In the meantime, the work is being carried out at night, from Sundays to Thursdays, when traffic volumes are lightest, and the highway is closed to traffic between 8pm and 6am.
Drivers travelling southbound between Masterton and Carterton may have to detour via Cornwall Rd and Hughes Line, and temporary speed restrictions will be in place on newly sealed sections to allow the new road surface to bed in properly. Drivers will have to factor traffic delays into their travel plans.
Although the project is not yet finished, Bhula said the SH2 safety improvements during the upgrade have “already proved their worth.”
“There have already been three occasions when they have been hit. That’s three times they have stopped vehicles from heading into the oncoming lane and prevented a potential head-on collision,” Bhula said.
Wairarapa Road Safety Council manager Bruce Pauling agrees, noting that “head-on collisions often result in deaths and serious injuries,” he said.
Wairarapa AA chairman Craig Bowyer is also positive about the new roundabouts that have been installed as part of the project, calling them a “vast improvement on what was there” – although the AA has received reports of learner drivers struggling with the SH2 and Ngaumutawa Rd roundabout.
“We’ll just have to wait and see how it pans out,” he said.