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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

State highway works in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay are resuming from today (Wednesday 1 September), after last night’s move to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 for most of New Zealand, excluding Auckland and Northland.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency stood down all non-essential state highway maintenance and project work with the move to Alert Level 4 at 11.59pm on Tuesday 17 August, with only essential maintenance and work to ensure security, safety and environmental protection of sites permitted during the lockdown.

“The health and safety of our workers and road users remains the top priority for Waka Kotahi and although some work is resuming, Level 3 is not a return to normal,” Regional Manager Infrastructure Delivery Lonnie Dalzell says

“We are working closely with our contractors on individual COVID-19 plans for each of our worksites. Every one of these plans will align with the new Health Order and strict industry standards provided by Construction Health and Safety NZ (CHASNZ).

“The plans include standards and guidelines for pre-planning work, documenting the health and safety of staff, maintaining safe physical distancing, cleaning of all plant, tools and vehicles, and quickly and accurately tracing people if they come into contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.”

The individual plans must be accepted by Waka Kotahi before projects can resume and will be closely monitored to ensure all contractors are complying with the requirements to ensure the health and safety of workers and people travelling on the state highways.

“Getting back into on-site work will be different for each project and timings will depend on the nature and complexity of worksites. Some on-site activity will be able to start back up straight away, while other sites and projects may take some time to be fully operational.

“Infrastructure plays a vital role in New Zealand’s economic recovery so it’s important that work continues, but we won’t compromise on the health and safety of our workers and road users, which is our top priority,” Mr Dalzell says.

Maintenance work will also resume across Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay from today.

“Resuming our critical maintenance work as we head into the drier season will help ensure we continue to provide a safe, efficient and accessible state highway network over the next 12 months,” Mr Dalzell says.

“Maintenance operations will use similar COVID-19 plans to keep our workers and the communities we work in safe.

“We’d like to remind people travelling through our worksites to please be patient and respectful of our workers who are stepping outside of their bubbles to do vital work to keep everyone safe on our roads.”

Waka Kotahi expects to be able to provide more detail on individual projects over the next week.

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