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Hill night closures coming

The Remutaka Hill Rd, the main link between Wairarapa and Wellington. PHOTO/FILE

Around 350 motorists affected per night in March
Road crews will work with emergency services

Elisa Vorster
[email protected]

If you have an early-morning flight or a late-night concert in Wellington during the month of March, it would pay to plan well in advance.

The NZ Transport Agency have given early notice of a series of full night time closures of SH2 over the Remutaka Hill in March to allow for essential maintenance work to be carried out.

The initial five consecutive night closures, from 9pm to 5am, are scheduled from Sunday, March 3, to Friday morning, March 8, with a further five consecutive night closures from Sunday, March 24, to Friday morning, March 29.

It will be no wonderland by night ahead for Engelbert Humperdinck fans.

With his March 4 concert at the Opera House in Wellington scheduled to finish at 11pm, Wairarapa concert-goers will face either a night in Wellington or a detour via the Pahiatua Track or Saddle Road.

The same applies to John Farnham fans attending his March 7 concert at the Michael Fowler centre.

Regional Transport Systems Manager Mark Owen said the night-time maintenance work will significantly reduce the number of day-time disruptions on the hill road, enable better quality work, and increase the safety of maintenance crews.

“Subject to weather, we expect the night works will at least halve the number of stop/go delays that road users are currently experiencing when travelling over the Remutaka Hill during the day,” Owen said.

Around 350 vehicles use the Remutaka Hill Rd at night from 9pm to 5am, compared with around 6300 vehicles during the day.

Some of these night-time road users include emergency services transporting patients from Wairarapa to Wellington Hospital, especially when weather conditions prevent the Life Flight Westpac rescue helicopter from landing.

However, Owen said provisions had been made for such instances.

“We will work with key emergency services on their requirements to get access to and from Wellington and Wairarapa.

“Our transport operations centre will co-ordinate with emergency services if and when these events arise.”

The State Highway 2 road is the main artery linking the Wellington and Wairarapa regions with an average of over 6650 vehicles using the road daily.

NZTA acknowledged effective maintenance of the road is critical for both the Wellington and Wairarapa communities.

“The steep, narrow road over the Remutaka Hill is a difficult road to maintain,” Owen said.

“Current maintenance is during the day, with approximately 300 stop/go road works during the year causing significant disruptions for motorists.

“Most importantly, the constrained working environment does not meet our safety expectations for our workers.

“We want to ensure our road crews are working in a safe environment, and ensure the road is in a great condition for road users.”

NZTA said the full road closure is similar to full closures of tunnels in Wellington for maintenance and the closure of SH58 through Whitby.

“We know closing the hill road will have an impact on road users in the evening.

“That’s why we are giving plenty of notice so people are able to reschedule their journeys, or allow more time for the detour via Pahiatua Track or Saddle Road.”

Further information on the Remutaka Hill Road closures is available at www.nzta.govt.nz/remutaka

1 COMMENT

  1. Really Fulton Hogan can’t manage 350 vehicles during an 8 hour period? Safe for the staff funny they must be as incompetent as managment !
    You have road cones, trucks with flashing strobes, trucks with crash cushions all of which direct and or slow the traffic to a safe speed!!
    Come on Fulton Hogan get real or hand it over to a real contractor.
    I have noticed Higgings can manage state highway 1 without closing it .
    Poor management and equally poor decisions by nzta who are rather nieve their analogy was to compare it to the Wellington tunnel closer, 10 minutes to get around where Masterton to Wellington via pahiatua is 3 hours thats 2 extra hours per day and around 200 extra kms
    Pathetic Fulton Hogan

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