Contractors putting in the barriers on the Remutaka HIll at night during the November 2019 road closures. PHOTO/FILE

John Lazo-Ron

Night closures and daytime disruptions on the Remutaka Hill road will be common place over a three-week period this month.

Night closures from 9pm until 4am are scheduled from May 16 to May 21, and May 23 to May 28.

At all other times, stop-go traffic management will be in place.

The daytime works will continue from May 31 to June 4 but the road will remain fully open overnight.

The programme of works come after a New Zealand Transport Agency [NZTA] engineering report found several sites on the hill needed priority attention.

A closure was scheduled to begin in June but was moved forward due to the works needed.

NZTA regional transport systems manager Mark Owen said the road’s long-term resilience was a priority because it was prone to slips from heavy rainfall which overflows the stormwater drains.

“The Remutaka Hill road is a lifeline for Wairarapa communities and the only direct vehicle route to the Wellington region,” he said.

“This resilience work is necessary to ensure that safety of road users and help prevent future slips and road closures from happening in the event of heavy rainfall in the Remutaka mountain range.”

Two high-priority sections would be strengthened from late May to early June to prevent future erosion and slips causing lengthy road closures and disruption to people’s journeys.

Two culverts that are due for an upgrade will be worked on at the same time.

Works being undertaken include building retaining walls, adding new culverts and expanding capacity for existing culverts to manage stormwater overflow.

Eight remaining sites identified in the engineering analysis report would be strengthened over the next few years, subject to funding.

Owen said the NZTA was advising people to plan ahead because the lengthy road closures could cause disruption.

“The Remutaka Hill Rd is steep, narrow and winding which makes it a challenging environment to work in.

“Having it fully closed to traffic at night during the main period of the works is essential to ensure the safety of our team.

“Working at night encounters less traffic, and therefore less disruption to road users, however there will still be some impact on motorists during the day with the stop-go in place, so we’re advising everyone to plan ahead.”

Although the closure could have an effect on transport businesses, McCarthy Transport Masterton branch manager Pete Maclean said, “as long as they don’t impinge us in the daytime [the closures] won’t affect us at all”.

Maclean said, “Most of [their work is done] outside of those hours. We generally have trucks dispatched at the yard from 2 o’clock onwards, so if [drivers] have to wait at the gate for half an hour before they go over the hill it’s not too much of an issue for us.”

Access over the hill would be available for emergency services and night workers throughout the night-time closures by an escorted vehicle service.

Bookings for this service must be made in advance by emailing

Travel arrangements for traffic during the night-time closures:

Sunday 16 May – Friday 21 May

9pm-4am full road closure

Stop-go traffic control at all other times during these dates.

Travel arrangements for night-time traffic 9pm-4am

Bookings required. Night shift workers and others with essential commitments should contact to book escorted travel across the hill. Numbers are limited for driver and worker safety.

Sunday 23 May – Friday 28 May

9pm-4am full road closure

Stop-go traffic control at all other times during these dates.

Travel arrangements for night-time traffic 9pm-4am

Vehicles to queue and wait for pilot vehicle to escort them across the hill. No bookings required.

Crossing times:

• Hutt side to Wairarapa side – 10.30pm, 12.30am

• Wairarapa side to Hutt side – 11.30pm, 1.30am

Monday 31 May –Friday 4 June

Stop-go traffic control during the day.

The road will be fully open for traffic from Friday afternoon and through the weekend until works resume. Access will be available for emergency services throughout the project.