Road work­ers seem wooden


The mys­tery of the ply­wood peo­ple has been solved.

Con­trac­tors build­ing the $850 mil­lion Trans­mis­sion Gully mo­tor­way have re­vealed why hu­man cut-outs, with hi-vis colour­ing, have ap­peared at their work­site in Kapiti, near State High­way 1.

The wooden fig­ures have popped up in the mid­dle of earth­works form­ing the north­ern tip of the mo­tor­way.

Project di­rec­tor Boyd Knights said the ply­wood peo­ple were act­ing as mark­ers for ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tors work­ing in­side an area of sand dunes just south of MacKays Cross­ing.

Much like farm­ers use scare­crows to pro­tect crops ger­mi­nat­ing be­low ground, the fig­ures alert ma­chine op­er­a­tors to equip­ment un­der the work area, he said.

The cut-outs pro­tect de­vices called set­tling plates that mea­sure pres­sure from sand loaded along the path mo­tor­way.

‘‘It lit­er­ally drains mois­ture from the soil be­low the new road em­bank­ment and com­presses it,’’ Knights said.

Work­ers scoop up nearby sand and dump it along the road, adding pres­sure on the soil be­low.

‘‘Hav­ing these hu­man-shaped warn­ing mark­ers en­sures work­ers and ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tors avoid the area, just as they would if there was a real per­son present.’’ of the four-lane

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