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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is moving to complete an essential road repair on the south side of the Brynderwyns Hills to ensure the safety and resilience of State Highway 1 to Northland.

The northbound passing lane has been closed and the road reduced to one lane in each direction since last July while two failed retaining walls under the road were replaced, says Northland System Manager Jacqui Hori-Hoult.

“We were about to re-seal the road to complete the repair when the COVID-19 lockdown took effect on March 26. This is a significant route for Northland and there is a real risk to the safety and resilience of the road if it’s left in its current state and the weather turns bad.”

“Laying down the final seal will ‘waterproof’ the road to ensure water doesn’t get into the newly-built retaining walls and undermine the repairs.”

The work will be carried out over three days, starting Monday 6 April. Crews will begin preparations on Monday to remove the temporary metal barriers on Tuesday.  On Tuesday night the new asphalt will be laid, with road marking completed on Wednesday. The road should be open to traffic on Wednesday, weather permitting.

During the work, the highway will be reduced to a single lane with traffic controlled by manual stop/go operators.

Ms Hori-Hoult says Waka Kotahi is focused on ensuring the health and safety of workers and contractors and all essential work will be carried out in line with Ministry of Health Covid-19 guidance. 

“We will split the crews into 4 different bubbles, with only the traffic management team and one other team on site at any time. They will all travel in separate vehicles and maintain social distancing and good hygiene on site.”  

“Working in bubbles and social distancing means the job will take a bit longer but the safety and well-being of our workers is a priority.”

“If we don’t act now and there is heavy rain, the repaired retaining walls could fail again and, worse case, close SH1 over the Brynderwyn Hills. That would force essential freight movers to take a long detour on local roads to get in and out of Northland.”

The National Road Carriers Association (NRC) says restoring this section of SH1 is great news for the freight sector.

“We appreciate the Transport Agency has moved to complete this work despite the current COVID-19 restrictions. This is a critical route for the Northland economy, so we are keen to avoid using detours that add costs and disrupt our ability to deliver freight in a timely and safe manner, says Paula Rogers, NRC Commercial Transport Specialist.

Whangarei District Council General Manager of Infrastructure, Simon Weston, is also pleased the re-sealing has been prioritised.

“The route over the Brynderwyns is a lifeline for Northland. It will be great to see the passing lane on the south side restored.”  

Waka Kotahi thanks motorists and especially truck and bus drivers for their patience and understanding during the lane closure as traffic lanes were moved closer to the rock wall to provide a safe working area for the road crews.

“We acknowledge the disruption and delays this work caused. In the end, we got to do two essential repairs in one go and this critical Northland transport route will now be safer and more resilient as winter approaches.”

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