NZTA says sorry about road closure

By John Maslin -

The NZ Transport Agency has apologised for what it called a communication breakdown which meant it didn't advise transport operators about closing SH4 last weekend.

The Road Transport Association fired a broadside at the NZTA last Thursday when it found out SH4 between Whanganui and Raetihi would be closed from 6.30am-6.30pm on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

RTA central area manager Tom Cloke said the decision to close part of the highway just north of the Fields Track turnoff would upset the transport industry and other motorists.

"Are we wild? Yes, we are. We've had absolutely no consultation from NZTA over this decision to close the road. But the last time we met them they promised faithfully they would," Mr Cloke said.

Yesterday NZTA highway manager Ross I'Anson said the agency values its relationship with the Road Transport Association and as a rule kept them informed about road works that will have an impact on their members.

"In this case, there was a very regrettable communication breakdown which meant they weren't informed about this weekend's road closures on SH4 as early as we would have liked. We will review our processes to make sure this doesn't happen again," Mr l'Anson said.

He said the road needed to be closed because of the scope of the work needed at that particular site.

He said the June storm last year left more than 40 sites along the highway needing repair.
The majority had been repaired but the scale and complexity of the remaining sites, including the one targeted over the weekend, have taken longer to investigate options for repairs.

Mr l'Anson said the work needed to be carried out on the weekend required full road closure, which NZTA recognised caused inconvenience and frustration for road users.

"We'll do all we can to reduce the impact on our customers and will endeavour to open the road up at the end of the day as soon as we can."

He said the repairs would ensure that the highway is stabilised, more resilient and easier to travel on in the future.

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