Otago Daily Times
NZTA apologises for ‘unacceptable’ SH88 delays
THE NZ Transport Agency has apologised for ‘‘significant and unacceptable delays’’ on State Highway 88 between Dunedin and Port Chalmers.
Extensive road and other works on the highway are causing lengthy morning peak hour delays and sparking frustration among some road users.
Many reduced speed signs, some indicating 30kmh areas, were dotted along the highway when the Otago Daily Times visited on Wednesday morning, as were traffic lightcontrolled areas reduced to one lane and other onelane areas controlled by stopgo signs.
Agency coastal Otago senior network manager Chris Harris said some road users had been ‘‘subjected to significant and unacceptable delays’’, as road maintenance works and shared path project work continued.
‘‘We are looking into ways to ensure traffic keeps moving, particularly now that school is back and there is pressure on people at the peak morning and afternoon time slots,’’ he said.
There appeared to have been an issue with timing of some of the portable traffic signals on Wednesday, which caused delays.
This had since been rectified and ‘‘similar delays shouldn’t happen again’’, he said.
Several projects were being undertaken on the highway during the summer road sealing season, including the existing works related to the shared path project, and continuing and associated safety barrier upgrades.
The agency was investigating ways to cut the impact on road users, particularly at the peak morning and afternoon periods, and would be talking to third party contractors to make improvements for the rest of this week, he said.
A Port Chalmers resident said he had experienced more disruption in commuting to work in Dunedin in recent weeks than in the previous 20 years.
‘‘They’re doing it all at once. It’s very frustrating,’’ he added.
A St Leonards resident said it had taken him 45 minutes to drive to work yesterday morning, recently installed portable traffic lights adding to delays.
Port Chalmers resident and Dunedin city councillor Steve Walker said he had previously heard criticism about dangerous and inadequate conditions on the highway.
However, it was the improvements themselves which were now attracting criticism, Cr Walker said.
The completed projects would result in big improvements in highway safety, and completion of the shared pathway to Port Chalmers.