Works on state highways in the Waikato started again this week, including resumption of construction of the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway - the last leg of the new road from Cambridge to Bombay.

Hamilton City Council is also starting road works again this week - mainly road safety improvements that will keep contractors busy for the next three to six weeks.

Work will also resume this week on some of Hamilton City Council's capital projects — providing contractors can meet government guidelines on operating during Alert Level 3.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says some essential state highway maintenance work continued during the lockdown to keep the network safe for the movement of essential goods. All non-essential maintenance work and capital project work was stopped.

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Waikato Expressway Hamilton section structural asphalt paving at night on the Southern Interchange. Photo / NZTA
Waikato Expressway Hamilton section structural asphalt paving at night on the Southern Interchange. Photo / NZTA

Work on the Waikato Expressway Hamilton section resumed on Tuesday but it will take time for some sites and projects to be fully operational.

NZTA's Director Regional Relationships Steve Mutton says the agency is working with contractors on specific Covid-19 plans for each of its work sites. Each plan will align with the strict industry standards provided by Construction Health and Safety NZ.

"The transition back to on-site work will be different for every project, and the timing will depend on the nature and complexity of work sites," he says.

"A range of new measures will need to be in place, including restricted access to sites, requirements for workers to maintain physical distancing, and the use of additional protective clothing.

"At all Waka Kotahi sites, crews will go through a Covid-19 induction and learn the new practices and protocols (for that site/project) to keep them, the surrounding community and road users safe.

"Crews will form small working 'bubbles' who will stick together throughout the day while maintaining safe social distance, and where they are working away from home, will also share accommodation and travel bubbles.

He encouraged people driving through work sites to be patient, cautious and comply with all temporary speed limits to keep workers safe.

Hamilton City Council says the road works under way are shorter, lower-cost projects that focus on immediate options for slowing vehicle speeds, improving visibility and increasing pedestrian safety in busy areas such as near schools.

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The projects focus on improvements near several Hamilton schools as well as the busy areas of Victoria St and Peachgrove Rd.

People driving through road works are asked to be patient, cautious and comply with all temporary speed limits to keep workers safe. Image / Hamilton City Council
People driving through road works are asked to be patient, cautious and comply with all temporary speed limits to keep workers safe. Image / Hamilton City Council

All construction sites reopening will be following strict Covid-19 health and safety guidelines, including following 2m distancing rules and hygiene protocols, says City Transportation Manager Jason Harrison.

The city council's Infrastructure Committee Chair Councillor Angela O'Leary says the return to some capital works is a welcome step as the city begins the path to recovery.

"The Council and its partners are doing everything possible to restart economic activity in the city without compromising the work done by our public health sector and by Hamiltonians who have done everything asked of them, including staying at home," she said.

Development General Manager Chris Allen says the Council's contracts team has been working, and continues to work closely with contractors ensuring they have their Covid-19 control plans in place.

Work is resuming this week on some Hamilton City Council capital projects, including the new Rotokauri Transport Centre. Photo / Hamilton City Council
Work is resuming this week on some Hamilton City Council capital projects, including the new Rotokauri Transport Centre. Photo / Hamilton City Council

"Since the lockdown started, teams from across the Council have been working hard behind the scenes to plan for a quick restart once we had the all clear, he says.

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"We understand it won't quite be business as usual for our contractors, but these extra precautions are worth it if means we can get out there and start work now.

"People will start to see more construction activity across the city in coming days and weeks, which means more happening on our roads and we want to remind people to be aware and take more care for their protection and safety of our workers."