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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Takaka Hill rebuild team begin work on five complex repair sites at the same time, from mid-March.

From next week, people who use the hill road will notice a change in how the single lane traffic is managed ahead of a new position for the top traffic light which controls vehicle movements.

This signals the second stage of the repairs needed to SH60, the only road access to Golden Bay, after ex-tropical-cyclone Gita caused extensive damage in February 2018.

This work will continue all this year, aiming to reopen to two lanes by the end of 2020.

Since 2018, road access between Riwaka on the Motueka side of the hill, and the top of the Takaka Hill, has been controlled over the one-lane sections with traffic signals. A timer shows people how long they have to wait.

“For our crews to get to the slip site at the top of the hill, the road must be reduced to one lane, and we need to shift the traffic lights by 700 metres to include this area,” says Principal Project Manager Chris Robertson.

This will add two minutes to wait times at the lights, increasing the total wait time to up to 14 minutes at each end of the stop points.

“We plan to start moving the lights on Monday or Tuesday next week (9 and 10 March), weather permitting. This shift will take about two weeks to complete so during this time manual stop/go traffic management will be used. We thank all Takaka Hill and Golden Bay drivers for being patient while this next stage is safely installed,” he says.

Map showing the shift in traffic signals location near the top of Takaka Hill  which will be in place in coming weeks:

Background

Retaining wall designs have now been completed at the five significantly damaged sites on Takaka Hill with construction underway from mid-March.

“The remaining five sites are all significant pieces of work with geotechnical risks, and there’s been a huge amount of planning work needed before this work could safely get underway,” says Mr Robertson.

Repairs to the ten less complex sites were completed in 2019.

This new stage of work will be carried out by Downer on behalf of the Transport Agency.

Night closures to come

Before on-site works get underway in March, the safety barriers around the five major sites need to be replaced, taking around ten nights.

The road will be closed to do this work, with an opening for essential travel. (Time and schedule to be confirmed in an upcoming newsletter)

“The night closures will increase safety for maintenance crews, significantly reduce the number of day time disruptions on Takaka Hill road and enable better quality maintenance and slip prevention work,” says Mr Robertson.

Access will be available for emergency services throughout the night closures.

Cyclists avoid the hill if you can

“For safety reasons, we ask cyclists to avoid travelling over the hill while construction is underway between mid-March and October 2020. There will be heavy construction plant operating nearby and the road width will be significantly reduced,” says Mr Robertson.

Early April catch-up in Takaka, Saturday morning

The Transport Agency’s project team will meet with locals and answer any questions about the Takaka Hill road repairs on Saturday, 4 April, 9 am to 11 am:  Takaka Village Market, 49 Commercial Street, Takaka.

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