FROM WAKA KOTAHI NZTA: Work to start soon on Walnut Avenue lights

Published: 8 September 2021

Celebrating the start of the Walnut Avenue intersection improvements project on August 16...

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This is the first of a number of updates about the New Zealand Upgrade project to improve two intersections in Ashburton (Walnut Avenue and SH1/West Street, and Walnut Avenue and East Street).

First, we want to extend a warm hello. We hope that you have been safe and well and that this small update provides you with welcome news.

We are looking forward to being on site but you may not see visible work right away. We first need to put our plans in place to achieve the requirements of the relevant Covid-19 Alert Level protocols. This is our top priority, we will only be resuming construction work when we are sure we can keep our team and our local community safe.

When our construction crew are back on-site they will be stepping outside of their bubbles as they can’t do their work from home. And they will be doing their work within a whole new set of safety protocols to keep all of us safe.

Waka Kotahi crews will be following the official New Zealand construction COVID-19 protocols including restricted access to sites, requirements for workers to maintain physical distancing, and the use of additional protective clothing. These standards will be the same across the construction and building sector.

The entire team will be coached on how to work safely within the relevant Alert Level protocols.

Please be careful, be kind and give our crews a friendly wave when you see them.

Why are we upgrading these intersections?

The aim of this project is to make it safer for school students, people who bike or walk and all road users to get around Ashburton.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is working with Ashburton District Council, Iwi and KiwiRail to replace the two roundabouts with traffic lights, to upgrade the railway level crossing and improve cycling and walking paths.

The project is the 14th of the NZ Upgrade projects to start construction with three smaller projects underway in other parts of the South Island/Te Waipounamu.

The project has already been warmly welcomed by community leaders. Just before Alert Level 4 was announced, on Monday August 16, Te Wera King, Upoko, Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua, Jo Luxton, MP for Rangitata, and Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown were joined by others for the formal blessing and sod-turning event.

These changes will take some time, but they will improve safety and access for local people, help reduce delays and make it easier for larger vehicles to travel through the intersections.

One of the first things you may notice is that we will have to remove a number of plants and trees. We are working with council so that new plants can be planted in other areas to off-set this removal.

If you see anything around our sites that needs to be addressed during shutdown please call our contractor, Fulton Hogan, on 0800 ROAD FH (0800 7623 34).

Work and traffic impacts:

* A 30km/h speed restriction and other traffic management will be in place during the project to help keep road users and road workers safe. People are urged to travel through the site with extra care and attention.
* There will mostly be two lanes of traffic available on SH1, with Stop/Go used intermittently.
* Work will mostly be undertaken Monday – Friday, 7am – 7pm, with occasional weekend work.
* Neighbours will be notified if night works are required.
* The project expected to take 18 months and be complete in late 2022/early 2023.

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