Motorists can expect further State Highway 2 delays from Monday, when traffic will be directed onto the new roundabout layout at Wiltons Rd.
This is one of the three new roundabouts being constructed along SH2 as part of the transport agency’s physical safety improvements on the highway corridor from Masterton to Featherston – the other two are at Norfolk Rd and Ngaumutawa Rd.
The roundabouts are scheduled for completion mid-year, which may mean several months of bumper-to-bumper for motorists travelling from Masterton to Carterton along SH2.
Like the Norfolk Rd roundabout, the Wiltons Rd layout will be marked with cones and have a gravel surface while contractors complete milling work before constructing the permanent roundabout.
Contractors are grinding the old road surface to the base level and stabilising it
before starting construction.
As part of the project, East Taratahi Rd at SH2 is closed on weekdays from 7am to 6pm until late March.
During this time, residents must enter East Taratahi Rd from Hughes Line.
Construction at Wiltons Rd will be the second change in road layout on the section, after the Norfolk Rd roundabout, which changed last Thursday, causing long delays for motorists travelling in both directions.
Yesterday, the Norfolk Rd intersection caused southbound traffic to queue 4km back to the Kuripuni roundabout in Masterton, and since the change, northbound traffic has queued as far back as Clareville.
Waka Kotahi NZTA regional manager for infrastructure delivery Jetesh Bhula said delays would be “inevitable” while roundabout construction was underway.
He said that temporary lower speed limits were necessary for the safety of contractors, as well as drivers heading through the site.
Bhula said it was impossible to accurately predict how much the Wiltons Rd layout change would delay drivers but recommended that drivers plan and factor in extra time according to when they travel.
He could not confirm when the Wiltons Rd roundabout will be sealed but said all three roundabouts were scheduled for completion mid-year, weather dependant.
Yesterday, in the after-school rush, one driver reported it took them 40 minutes to get from Cornwall Rd to the Waingawa Bridge.
The surface at the Norfolk Rd roundabout is scheduled to be sealed before Easter.
Bhula said he understood why drivers were frustrated but said the safety improvements would prevent future deaths and serious injuries.
“We want to thank residents and road users for their patience and understanding as our contractors work hard to complete these works.”