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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Works to resurface State Highway 2 between the Wairoa River Bridge and Bethlehem hit an unexpected issue early this morning (Thursday 25 May 2023), when an asphalt paver suffered a mechanical failure at the worksite.

A replacement vehicle was required to complete the necessary works before traffic could utilise the road this morning, delaying the road reopening by almost an hour.

This comes on the back of several weeks of long delays on this section of state highway, and Rob Campbell, Regional Manager of Maintenance and Operations for Waka Kotahi, acknowledges this will have added to the  frustration.

“We have seen and heard the impact that the various roadworks on SH2 are causing road users. We appreciate that this is causing a high level of frustration, and that the additional delays this morning will have disrupted people further. Our contractor worked as quickly as possible to complete their works under the road closure, to ensure the road was safe for everyone to drive on by 6am.

“We are doing everything we can to try and minimise the impact of these works. To this end we have postponed the planned closure on Sunday night (28 May), and we will look to complete this on Wednesday 31 May. This decision has been made to try and give road users some breathing space, and also due to a poor weather forecast for the region over the next few days. Weather has a huge part to play in how quickly we can complete this work. The more good weather we have, the quicker we will be out of the way.

“We are aiming to complete the resurfacing works by mid-June. Following this, the Tauranga City Council Wairoa Cycleway project will commence night works on SH2 to construct a signalised intersection near the cul-de-sac of Carmichael Road. We acknowledge that travel times may be longer than usual for the next month or so, and remind road users to plan ahead, and where possible to consider alternative travel options and/or times.”

This work is being undertaken as part of the annual road renewals programme on the state highway network, which has seen over 170 lane kilometres of roads resealed or rebuilt across the Bay of Plenty region during the previous 9 months.

By 2050 the western Bay of Plenty is projected to be home to 258,000 residents, requiring 34,000 more homes and generating one million movements per day on our transport network. 

There are a number of ongoing projects on or near SH2 such as the safety improvements between Waihi and Ōmokoroa, which are estimated to be completed in 2026.

The Takitimu North Link Stage One project, which will help provide a solution for part of this route by catering for growing demand and improving safety and reliability, is estimated to be completed mid-2027.