NZTA gets a cone blast from Minister Brown

The New Zealand Transport Agency is coming under spending scrutiny over temporary traffic management, especially the cost of road cones.

Transport Minister Simeon Brown told a select committee recently that it was “unacceptable” NZTA did not know cone costs. Waka Kotahi countered by saying that traffic management costs were included in tenders for a job, so itemisation was difficult. However, the agency explained that traffic management costs typically account for up 10 per cent of any project.

Minister Brown said that traffic management expenditure has become one of the leading costs of road building. He said it impacts on road use and added that contractors and councils would have to cut such costs in future.

The NZTA will now start measuring the costs of temporary traffic management. Moreover, the minister said that a less prescriptive code was forthcoming and should help to reduce costs. He said that safety at any cost is not the right approach; safety at a reasonable cost is what he wants.

The new code will resemble Australia’s which is risk-based and should make a marked difference. A recent study by NZTA found that road cones were too often left out unnecessarily, frustrating motorists. The agency said it intends to act more sensibly about future cone use.

NZTA chief executive Nicole Rosie told the committee the current approach was compliance based. She said it could result in too much (or occasionally too little) traffic management. On big projects like the Brynderwyns, dispensing with cones and closing the road results in a quicker, safer job. She added that the traffic management cone shift is tricky for the industry but under her watch it is happening.

The post NZTA gets a cone blast from Minister Brown appeared first on NZ Autocar.

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