Improvements for drivers
Complaints from frustrated motorists about major roadworks along State Highway 2 in CHB has forced the NZ Transport Agency to implement traffic management changes it says will result in “less inconvenience” for drivers.
NZTA has confirmed it has received at least five complaints since May when work on the $20 million project to improve safety along SH2 between Pakipaki and Waipukurau started in earnest.
The newest complaint was lodged by Waipukurau commuter Kristy Tilyard, who works at Hawke's Bay hospital in Hastings. With hundreds of vehicles commuting north between 7am and 8am, she said the recent introduction of automated traffic lights around Te Hauke had resulted in traffic snarls “all the way back to Waipawa” some mornings.
She felt the automated lights were “complete overkill” with a “handful of workers dithering around with road cones and no actual maintenance work to be seen”.
“[It's] so incredibly annoying each morning. Why can they not manage this better, or wait until after 8am or at least devise a plan to keep traffic flowing better,” asked Tilyard, who claimed it was the most poorlymanaged project she had ever seen.
“Travel time is increased by at least 20 minutes or more each morning — and all for widening the verge on the side of the road.”
Tilyard emailed her complaint to the NZTA hoping the contractors would be directed by the NZTA to improve their work practices and traffic management plan.
Her complaint may have had the desired effect, based on comments made to the CHB Mail by NZTA's regional transport systems manager, Wayne Oldfield.
“We regularly monitor traffic management on this site, and have provided feedback to the sub-contractor. As a result, we have made some adjustments in the way traffic management is implemented, and this will result in less inconvenience for drivers. We'd like to thank the public for their patience while we implement safety improvements on this highway,” Oldfield said.
With many newly arrived CHB residents still commuting north every day for work, the New to CH' Facebook group recently ran a poll to gauge interest in a car pooling system or if there was demand for a daily train or bus service. Page creator Bobby Kerrins, who commutes to Hastings, said he hit the road early enough to miss the holdups.
“But my partner and a lot of others I know who do commute, are sick of the roadworks,” he said. The poll showed a clear demand for a daily bus or train service to Napier and Hastings, he said.
The introduction of automated traffic lights along SH2 is resulting in 20-minute delays some mornings, commuters claim.