Rimu­takaHill road work set for spring

Wairarapa News - - FRONT PAGE - STAFF RE­PORTER

Work to widen one of the nar­row­est cor­ners on the Rimu­taka Hill Road, State High­way 2 be­tween Welling­ton and the Wairarapa will now take place in the spring.

The work had been sched­uled to start two months ago but was de­layed by ad­di­tional con­sent­ing re­quire­ments.

While these have been re­solved, NZ Trans­port Agency Re­gional Per­for­mance Man­ager Mark Owen said win­ter con­di­tions make the work too haz­ardous, and in­crease the risk of ac­ci­dents, both on the work site and for traf­fic in the area.

‘‘The fre­quency with which snow, ice and high winds af­fect the road over win­ter means there’s a high risk that the project will take sig­nif­i­cantly longer than sched­uled,’’ he said.

‘‘This means ad­di­tional dis­rup­tion to driv­ers, higher costs, and our con­trac­tors would be ex­posed to haz­ardous con­di­tions for longer.

‘‘Leav­ing the work un­til spring means there’s a higher like­li­hood of the work be­ing com­pleted on time and on bud­get, with min­i­mal dis­rup­tion to motorists.’’

The road will be widened by three me­tres at the nar­row­est point and re­quire the re­moval of 2700 cu­bic me­tres of soil and rock from the hill­side.

A new road sur­face will be laid, and a new guardrail will also be in­stalled.

The upcoming road­works will aim to make the road safer and less prone to block­ages.

The corner-widen­ing project is one of a num­ber of ini­tia­tives over re­cent years to im­prove safety for peo­ple trav­el­ling over the Rimu­taka Hill Road.

Other steps al­ready taken in­clude the in­stal­la­tion of road­side edge bar­ri­ers to pre­vent dropoffs, a speed-ac­ti­vated elec­tronic warn­ing sign and signs that il­lu­mi­nate when a truck is ap­proach­ing.

There is also ad­di­tional curve sig­nage to alert driv­ers of the safe speeds to travel around curves.

Also planned for spring 2017 is work at a corner ap­prox­i­mately 400 me­tres north, to in­stall a new safety bar­rier and widen the road.

This will pro­vide more room for on­com­ing ve­hi­cles trav­el­ling around the corner - some­thing that is cur­rently a tight squeeze, es­pe­cially for trucks.

‘‘The Rimu­taka Hill Road forms a crit­i­cal part of State High­way 2,’’ Owen said.

‘‘We will con­tinue to main­tain and im­prove the high­way to keep it open and safe.’’

Rimu­taka Hill Road sum­mit

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