BOP highway roadworks start back up
State highway roadworks have resumed in the Bay of Plenty today as the country moves to COVID-19 alert level 3.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says while some essential state highway maintenance work has continued during the lockdown, all non-essential maintenance work and capital project work was stopped under alert level 4.
Director regional relationships Steve Mutton says the safety of workers and road users is Waka Kotahi’s top priority, and they are working with contractors on specific COVID-19 plans for each of our work sites.
Every one of these plans will align with the strict industry standards provided by Construction Health and Safety NZ, he says.
“The transition back to on-site work will be different for every project, and the timing will depend on the nature and complexity of work sites. Some on-site activity will be able to resume straight away, but it will take time for some sites and projects to be fully operational.”
Key Bay of Plenty projects that will resume from today include:
• Bay Link project
Construction work at the Baypark to Bayfair Link site begun today
• Rotorua Eastern Corridor Stage One
Work on SH30 Te Ngae Road resumed from today focussing at Puarenga Park for the Whakarewarewa Rugby Club access, installing the new watermain and relocating services.
• SH2 Waihī to Ōmokoroa
Works on the installation of safety improvements will resume under alert level 3.
Waka Kotahi expects to be able to provide more detail on individual projects over the next week.
Maintenance work will also resume across the Bay of Plenty, with Waka Kotahi’s contractors working hard to make the most of reduced traffic on the roads under alert level three.
Steve says work at alert level 3 will not look like pre-pandemic work.
“A range of new measures will need to be in place, including restricted access to sites, requirements for workers to maintain physical distancing, and the use of additional protective clothing.
“At all Waka Kotahi sites, crews will go through a COVID-19 induction and learn the new practices and protocols (for that site/project) to keep them, the surrounding community and road users safe.
“Crews will form small working ‘bubbles’ who will stick together throughout the day while maintaining safe social distance, and where they are working away from home, will also share accommodation and travel bubbles.
“We are committed to getting New Zealand moving again, but we will not compromise on the safety of road workers or of road users.”
He encouraged people driving through worksites to be patient, cautious and comply with all temporary speed limits to keep workers safe.
“These people are stepping outside of their bubbles to do vital work to keep all of us safe. Please be careful, be kind and do your part to ensure they make it home safe at the end of the day.”