Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says critical state highway maintenance work will continue to be carried out in order to ensure the safe movement of essential goods and to provide support for lifeline functions during New Zealand’s Covid-19 response.
Waka Kotahi General Manager Transport Services Brett Gliddon says while all non-essential work has been halted, safely maintaining New Zealand’s state highway system is considered vital in order to ensure that critical functions to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus can continue.
“The state highway network is the backbone of our transport system. It carries the bulk of critical freight, as well as providing access to lifeline utilities like hospitals and ensuring that emergency services can move quickly and safely around the country.”
Mr Gliddon says Waka Kotahi is focussed on ensuring the health and safety of workers and the wider community, and only essential maintenance work will be carried out while Alert Level 4 remains in place.
Essential maintenance activities include slip clearance and repairing damage after major weather events, critical road surfacing work and other safety-related activities like drainage work and the repair or replacement of damaged assets like road signs or median barriers. All other non-essential maintenance work will be deferred.
All contractors and suppliers have health and safety plans in place to ensure that all work is carried out in line with Ministry of Health Covid-19 guidance.
Mr Gliddon says Waka Kotahi asks people to be patient and respectful to roadworkers, and look out for their safety and wellbeing.
“If you see contractors out on the roads during the shutdown period please remember that they are carrying out essential work to keep us all safe. If you are using the roads during this period remember to comply with any temporary speed reductions through roadworks to keep workers safe. They are doing vital work and we all owe them a debt of gratitude.”
Mr Gliddon says Waka Kotahi staff will also be maintained in traffic control operations centres, to ensure that the state highway network remains safe for essential travel.
“The state highway network must remain safe and functional throughout this critical period, and we are committed to doing our part as New Zealand comes together to respond to this unprecedented challenge.”