Source: New Zealand Transport Agency
Signs indicating road works are ahead have been around in some form for hundreds of years, and for the crews working on those sites it is a sign to think about your speed to make sure everyone goes home safe at the end of the day.
Roadworks are a necessary part of keeping the state highway network operational and the associated traffic management is necessary to keep everyone safe, says Roger Brady, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Bay of Plenty System Manager, Maintenance and Operations.
“At almost every worksite we set up a reduced speed limit is in place for the work area, including safety areas before and after, to ensure road users are driving at a speed that will keep our crews safe, especially when they are working right next to live traffic.
“Our crews are telling us that they have noticed a significant increase in non-compliance with temporary speed limits over recent weeks, which has coincided with increased traffic volumes since the new school term commenced. This is a worrying trend, and this behaviour puts our people at risk should someone make a mistake.
Contractors across the Bay of Plenty region have also noticed the increase in speeds near their worksites. Their message is simple – if everyone drives at the correct speed past worksites it makes crews on site feel safe, which makes them work more productively. Everyone is working hard and wants to go home to loved ones afterwards. Everyone in the Bay of Plenty community has a part to play in keeping crews safe.
Bridge strengthening work at the Omanawa River Bridge on State Highway 29, has a reduced speed limit of 30km/h over the bridge. Reducing the speed of the traffic ensures bridge vibrations are minimised, which will result in a successful application.
“We acknowledge that it is challenging when the work is taking place under the bridge, as it is not readily apparent why the temporary speed limit is in place. We have increased the number of safe hit sticks on site and added extra electronic message signs to supplement our initial traffic management to alert people to why it’s in place.
“At this site we need people to slow down. The lower speed limit is in place to ensure the strengthening product adheres appropriately. There is a safety risk if people are not slowing down, and we may need to extend the timeframe of our work or change our traffic management setup to stop/go or other similar setups to force people to slow down.
“Where possible we try to accommodate road users, such as the initiative to have a toll-free period for westbound traffic on the SH2 Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road. This aims to reduce traffic on the Te Puke Highway while work takes place to stabilise the Kaituna Riverbank. This is in place for a three-week period between 16 May and 3 June 2022, from 4pm to 7pm, Monday to Friday.
Downer are completing two asphalt resurfacing sites in Bethlehem and Tauriko over the next fortnight to round out the renewal season, and it is important to drive safely past any worksite, especially when there is large machinery in operation.
Next summer will be another busy period for the region, with $25 million being invested into state highway maintenance, along with the infrastructure project delivery and works delivered by the local Councils.
Mr Brady recommends that road users check the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner before heading out. “Our Journey Planner is the most up-to-date source of information for work taking place on the state highway network. Keep yourself informed and plan your journey to minimise any potential disruption or delays.”