Our New Plymouth Infrastructure Partnership team deliver between $25-30M worth of infrastructure works across Transportation, 3 Waters, Parks & Reserves, Facilities Maintenance as well as Capital Projects through an NEC4 open-book shared risk model contract.
Every year, New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) renew and replace several kilometers of Three Waters infrastructure across the New Plymouth District. This can be disruptive and inconvenient for road users, property owners and businesses alike. With a direct strategy, lead by NPDC, and implemented by Downer and our Supply Partners, our default approach to performing work in the carriageway is to use road closures, where possible, followed by any other option that eliminates the vehicle-to-person interface that is necessary with stop/go type controls.
The traditional mindset of our workforce, our road users and our industry has always been towards stop/go traffic controls. Changing that approach to traffic control has been the single biggest challenge for our team to implement the overall strategy of eliminating the vehicle vs. worker interface.
Traffic detour routes, commercial operations and disruption to retail and service providers in areas where available parking is limited and far away, continue to be issues due to road closures. However because this has now become our normal, the community expectation has adjusted meaning we now receive far less complaints and negative feedback about the way we are performing temporary traffic control.
This has taken a year or more to become our business as usual, however we are now doing more road closures than any other traffic control method, including stop/go, contraflow, priority give way and traffic lights.
Solution / Outcome
With a combination of road closures and night works, we have been able to significantly reduce construction time through road closures, and lessen the commercial and customer impacts on local business by working at night.
The combination of these two factors has enabled our teams to deliver the work in less time, with far less risk to road users, and those doing the work on the ground. Our teams aren't pressed for working space within the road corridor and can utilise the lateral space they need on the road to do the work more efficiently.
Matai Street (SH3) in Inglewood was a key example of significantly reducing the impact of these works on both the local businesses and State Highway road users. Working outside of peak hours and into the early hours of the morning, combined with a road closure and a small detour, made a challenging package of work seamless.
The delivery time for Tukapa Street in Westown, New Plymouth, was reduced by 50% as a direct result of a road closure. While small detour was required, the overall impact to the road user was significantly reduced. The increase in work area allowed us to increase people resource and plant, delivering higher intensity in delivery. This resulted in cost savings of approx. $100K in reduced transport management costs and productivity increases.
The work was done in a safer, faster and more effective manner, which reduced negative customer feedback from those in the community and our key stakeholders. It also resulted in direct cost and time savings, alongside increased safety of our workforce.