Work on Ngatea’s main street is set to resume on April 28 under Covid-19 Alert Level 3.
However, further delays and restrictions due to Covid-19 shutdown means work isn’t expected to be complete until June and pavement and final surfacing won’t be finished until summer.
Delays in renewing the town’s main street on State Highway 2 have been devastating for business owners, who are struggling to stay afloat with some having to close their doors and lay off staff. The project was originally expected to see the road closed for just two weeks in January but unexpected strengthening work meant construction fell behind schedule.
Ngatea’s main street was reopened to two-way traffic on March 24 after work on non-essential state highway activities was stopped during the Covid-19 shutdown.
NZ Transport Agency systems management Waikato manager Cara Lauder said the one-way detour arrangement that was in place before work stopped during the shutdown would now be replaced with stop-go traffic management.
“This means there will be access for two-way traffic through the town centre but with longer delays than when the detour arrangement was in place,” she said.
“We discussed two options to complete the work – a full road closure and around the town detour, which will allow us to complete the work late May; or operating stop/go traffic management to keep traffic flowing through the town and support local businesses, which we agree is best. With traffic movement through the site, we have additional restrictions to manage and expect to finish this work early to mid-June.”
The was still a chance the road could be closed and a detour put in place due to the additional challenges of working to Covid-19 health and safety protocols, but that would be a “last resort”, she said.
“This is a unique situation and the blend of all these conditions could push our time frame out slightly.”
The pavement construction and final surfacing of the westbound traffic lane between Ngatea Primary School, Farm Source and Kohunui St will not be completed due to the cooler weather.
NZTA planned to work with Hauraki District Council and the community to complete that work in summer, she said.
NZTA and council were no longer able to run regular face-to-face meetings with affected business owners because of Covid-19 restrictions, so plan to continue with online newsletters and find other ways to share project updates over the coming weeks, she said.
In the meantime, any questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.