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Truckies coping with hill closures

PHOTO/FILE

HAYLEY GASTMEIER
[email protected]

A Wairarapa trucking company says it will take a financial hit with the Remutaka Hill road closures but while this is frustrating, it can see the bigger picture.

McCarthy Transport Masterton hub manager Paul Teddy said the scheduled closings for road maintenance would stop “between 20 to 30” truckloads of logs from making it over the hill each night, resulting in “thousands of dollars” of lost income.

“Yes, it will have a financial impact on the company,” he said.

But NZTA had given McCarthy Transport six weeks warning of the closures and had explained the situation.

“It’s safety first for all the road workers on the hill . . . it’s a bit of an inconvenience but safety first and it has to be done – there’s no way around it.”

Sunday marked the first of five consecutive nights in which the Remutaka Hill road will be closed in both directions, from 9pm to 4am, so essential road maintenance work can go ahead.

Teddy said it was unfeasible to send the trucks via the detours, Pahiatua Track or Saddle Rd, which added about three-and-a-half hours to the trip.

He said the road closures would create a backlog of work, with roll-on effects.

However, the maintenance works would halve the number of delays caused by roadworks in the future and this was a good thing.

Road Transport Association NZ Wairarapa delegate Graeme Reisma said NZTA would not have taken the decision to close the road lightly.

“There will be inconvenience for some, but we’ve acknowledged that the hill is in desperate need of maintenance and [remedial] work so it’s for the greater good.”

Reisma, who also owns a trucking company, said it would not be affected by the closures because his trucks only travelled on the hill during the day.

Ian Garrity, of Greytown-based rural road transport company Garrity Bros, said logging, freight, and stock moving companies would take a hit, but fortunately his firm could negotiate the closures.

“It hasn’t affected us too much.”

Garrity said these days the company only hauled about three loads south over the Remutaka Hill each week, so rescheduling would ensure the drivers travelled earlier so they could make it home before the road shut.

Masterton’s Craig Pepperell said his company, Craig Pepperell Transport Ltd, would not be affected as all his loads were to the north.

A return shuttle over the hill will run at 11pm and 1am for people unable to reschedule their journeys or use the detour, however they must register with NZTA.

Additional closures over five consecutive nights are scheduled from March 24-28, with the last closure ending at 4am on March 29.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Did anyone ask McCrthy’s why they dont use the log hub? I’ve found going over the hill during any weekday morning usually means stuck behind one of their logging trucks, and the drivers try to let cars through at the stopping areas but they are not long enough (i.e. there are few long enough). The last thing anyone wants is the truck to come to a stop on the Featherston side as they will never get going again. But still, why not use the hub?

  2. An alternative to logging trucks over the Rimutakas would be for the logs to go by rail. Less road maintenance and more environmentally friendly.

  3. It’s quite ironic that these transport companies harp on about safety etc. Every single trip I take over the hill I see these trucks cruising the yellow lines. If you can’t drive within the lane then you shouldn’t be using the hill. Q

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