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Commuters force-fed chips with everything

The queue on State Highway 2 at Clareville caused by the repairs to the failed chip seal. PHOTO/ELISA VORSTER

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Infuriated commuters between Carterton and Masterton found themselves at a standstill for up to 15 minutes on Thursday, with no indication of the reason for the hold-up.

Contractors were attempting to repair the failed chip seal after resurfacing on State Highway 2 near Clareville, but motorists got no warning.

Last week the stretch of highway between Somerset Rd and Nieches Ln got an overdue resealing it was in desperate need of, only for the chip seal to lift days later, resulting in large patches of bare and uneven road.

But the return of contractors to repair the affected areas was met with frustration as commuters were left out of the loop regarding the delay times they would face.

One Carterton resident said those travelling south on Thursday were stuck in a queue from Clareville Bakery back to the passing lane near Clareville Saddlery.

She questioned the stop-go frequency and said cars should have been let through more regularly.

“It was just ridiculous.

“They’re retouching the patches and quite literally I sat in a queue both ways for over 15 minutes.

“It’s frustrating that it is ongoing” as they were only fixing certain patches.

Signs indicating there were road works were so close to the affected area that there was no opportunity for drivers to turn off and take an alternate route.

Another Carterton commuter, Malcolm Cox, was eager for the road to be fixed earlier in the week but was now questioning the capabilities and management of the contractors.

“It’s pathetic,” he said. “If the job had been done properly the first time, we wouldn’t be going through this.

“These people need a great big gumboot up the arse.”

His partner had experienced delays of up to 10 minutes on Thursday morning with no indication of how long it would take to get through the road works.

People then had to drive through wet tar, with some to choosing to avoid it by driving along the shoulder which created issues for people trying to get in and out of driveways
and carparks.

New Zealand Transport Agency’s website stated there would be chip seal repairs between last Sunday and Tuesday, with a speed restriction being put in place.

However, there was little sign of any work taking place on those days and the website failed to indicate any roadworks or delays in the area on Thursday.

NZTA apologised for the delays, but a spokesperson said the work had to be carried out in daytime.

“Our contractor would normally undertake this work at night, however night temperatures are currently too low to successfully apply the treatment required to prevent further stripping of the seal.”

NZTA said it tried to minimise the impact on drivers by working at times of lower traffic volumes and monitored how drivers were being affected.

“There have been times today (Thursday) when the team on site recognised delays increasing, as a result they stopped work to allow traffic to ease,” they said.

No alternative route was available.

“Unfortunately, there was no suitable detour route to accommodate all vehicle types. To have the state highway heavy vehicle traffic using local roads would have caused significant delays on those routes and could have affected the safe operation of those routes.”

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