Sun, sand, surf -- and roadworks
Blisteringly hot weather continued in the very Far North last week, which for many people meant indulging in sun, sand, surf — and roadworks on the Awanui Straight.
With the highway reduced to one lane, under stop/go control, queues stretched almost the entire length of the 6km straight at times, but would have been longer had some locals not opted for the long way round via Gill Rd.
The NZTA’s Northland system manager, Jacqui Hori-Hoult, said the agency was taking advantage of warmer, drier weather, and would continue to do so over the next few months, to accelerate its state highway maintenance programme in Northland.
Before Christmas crews completed 133km of resealing in the region, with another 97km scheduled before the end of summer.
“Road users will notice a lot of road works, but there’s no better time to complete the work,” Ms Hori-Hoult said.
“Warm temperatures and dry air help the new seal stick to the existing surface more effectively. Pot holes, cracks and slippery surfaces that have lost their skid resistance affect every road user by increasing the risk of crashes. Maintaining surfaces can help keep our communities and visitors safe on the highways.”
Much of the work in this month would be done in the north, between Awanui and Kaikohe and across to Paihia, including the Awanui Straight and to just south of Mangamuka Bridge, the northernmost stretch of SH15 (Te Pua Rd, between SH1 and SH12), and on SH11 (Puketona Rd, between Puketona Junction and Haruru Falls).
At the end of January the focus would shift to the southern side of the Brynderwyns, where road closures and night works were planned.
Ms Hori-Hoult said everything possible was being done to reduce disruption, but it was important that motorists were patient and observed speed limits.
“We’re making the roads better for everyone, but we need motorists to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journeys,” she said.
“Speed restrictions are there to protect both drivers and our workers. They also help protect windscreens and vehicle surfaces, which can be damaged when people drive too fast and flick up loose chips.
“Even if there is no surface work happening on site, we ask that drivers keep their speeds down to let the new surface settle, otherwise it can get ripped up, and we’ll need to start all over again.”
The queue on the Awanui Straight, as seen from the hill near Kaitaia airport, on Tuesday afternoon. Traffic was backed up 2.5km from the Collard Tavern, on the northern edge of Kaitaia, to just north of Brott Rd.