Trucks assembled at the Remutaka Summit during the November road works. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

KAREN COLTMAN
karen.coltman@age.co.nz

People wanting to get to and from Wairarapa to weekend engagements over the Remutaka Hill will need to observe this Sunday’s road curfew of 9pm if they want to be back in their own beds for the night.

The road is closing at 9pm for road maintenance work, until 4am the next morning.

The New Zealand Transport Agency will repeat that process for five consecutive nights until Friday morning, January 17.

The main artery linking the Wellington and Wairarapa regions caters for an average of about 6650 vehicles daily, with just 291 of those vehicles affected by the closure times.

NZTA regional transport systems manager Mark Owen said with the nearest detour route more than 100km away, effective maintenance of the road was critical for Wellington and Wairarapa communities.

NZTA have been favouring night closures over doing works in business hours.

“This difficult working environment did not meet our safety requirements for our workers or for road users,” Owen said.

“It also did not enable the road to be maintained to the standard we expect.”

The maintenance works would ensure the road is in good condition, and the slip prevention works will improve accessibility by reducing the risk of falling rocks and debris on to the road.

The focus of the roadworks next week is to pave parts of the road with asphalt.

Trucks will be coming in and “laying it like carpet down the south end of the road and in a couple of other patches”, Owen said.

The jobs on the road this time are to tidy up the drains that get blocked, repairing signage and lay asphalt.

NZTA has had a meeting with trucking companies that use the road at night and would continue to work with them on the issues that come up when the road is closed.

“We know that even a one-night closure is an inconvenience for businesses, but we have to balance this with the safety of workers and the interruptions during the day with stop-go signs.”

He said NZTA had given plenty of notice so people could reschedule their journeys, or allow more time for the detour via Pahiatua Track or Saddle Rd.

Owen said this month’s night closures are the second of three, five consecutive night closures.

The first was in November, and the third one is scheduled for May.

Access for emergency services is still possible during the closures, and a limited shuttle service is available for people who have an urgent need to travel over the hill.

NZTA advises to email them as soon as possible: remutaka@nzta.govt.nz