A new era of how road work sites are managed has arrived with the release of the New Zealand Guide to Temporary Traffic Management, which sets out how road work sites should be managed, replacing the Code of Practice for Temporary Traffic Management.
Civil Contractors New Zealand Chief Executive Alan Pollard said the changes from the new guidance meant road work sites would be managed based on assessed risks, rather than the previous compliance-based approach.
“The way we manage traffic around road work sites is changing to be based on managing specific risks for each site. The new approach has the potential to be more efficient and cost effective, at the same time as keeping road workers and road users safe.”
Vanessa Browne, National Manager Programme and Standards for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, said the new guidance aimed to drive a culture change to improve safety for road workers and road users to work towards our vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on New Zealand’s roads.
“People continue to die and be seriously injured at TTM sites and this needs to change. Between 2017 and 2021, there were 43 fatal crashes and 287 serious injury crashes at worksites. This is compelling evidence that a new approach is needed to temporary traffic management across New Zealand.”
Mr Pollard said there was a strong case for change, and the new Guide followed on from WorkSafe guidance for road and roadside workers issued late last year, which set out how to manage health risks, safety risks, and practices when setting up and operating traffic control around road work sites.
The existing Code of Practice is intended to be gradually phased out of contracts, with transition to the new Guide anticipated to be largely completed by July 2024.
Mr Pollard said Waka Kotahi NZTA had listened to industry throughout the past years in triggering these systemic changes, reconciling more than 1,200 submissions of feedback as part of a Code of Practice review in the leadup to the creation of the new Guide and acknowledging the role industry must play in taking responsibility for safer outcomes.
“Road workers are used to working in the road corridor and are well-placed to understand and manage the direct risks. This is a fundamental shift to the way we think about traffic management, so it’s not going to happen overnight. But companies are used to managing road work sites, so this change comes down to how we interpret new requirements in a practical sense.”
Despite the case for change, Mr Pollard said these were significant updates and would take some time to embed, with the shift in thinking and practice requiring time and effort from civil construction companies.
He said collaboration with clients in both the private and public sectors would be needed going forward, and CCNZ would be supporting members in addressing any transitional challenges with good technical guidance and advice, alongside a new Industry Steering Group stood up in March 2023 to support the implementation of the Guide, which had its first meeting on 18 April.
The New Zealand Guide to Temporary Traffic Management is available at https://www.nzta.govt.nz/roads-and-rail/new-zealand-guide-to-temporary-traffic-management.