Diamond Head residents are preparing to join forces to complain about the noisy new chip seal on SH29A. Diamond Head is a cul de sac on the spur between Poike and Welcome Bay overlooking the highway.
Since the new chip seal was laid last week road noise has grown to alarming levels.
“It’s like visiting an airport,” says Resident Steve Ututaonga. “And when you hear a B Train roaring through, it’s like a jet passing over your house.”
One of his neighbours has double glazing and didn’t used to hear any traffic – but he can now.
“I went to council to see if they would monitor the noise levels,” says Steve. “There must be a standard noise level around traffic noise.”
But it’s not just the traffic noise. The headlight lens on his car and the windscreen on his wife’s car have both been hit by flying stones not swept up when the sealing was completed.
The guide lines sheet he was given shows that high traffic volume roads like the section of state highway that carries more than 10,000 vehicles a day is supposed to be asphalt sealed, with chip seal being used on lower traffic roads in the city.
Steve took his questions to NZTA, but was turned away, and told to speak to the contractors, Westlink.
NZTA Bay of Plenty Transport System Manager, Rob Campbell says the sealing isn’t completed. The road has an inconsistent surface so a two coat chip treatment was used.
“To complete the job we will return to treat the surface with a light application of bitumen and small chip to stabilise the surface,” says Rob. “We are treating this work as a priority and it will be completed as soon as possible.”
“As we know how frustrating it can be when windscreens are damaged, we focus on minimising the risk of loose chips. We use a number of different techniques to help prevent damage. This ranges from using single coat seals to sweeping loose chips after sealing.
“During sealing operations we also put in place temporary lower speed limits, while the chips roll and lock in. The lower speed limit reduces the chance of chips being flicked up by passing vehicles. “This requires drivers to play their part as well by adhering to the temporary speed limit and reducing the risk of windscreen damage to theirs and others’ vehicles.
“We’d like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience this restricted speed may cause, we are treating the repair work as a priority.”
He say best practice was followed and the road was re-opened for use with a restricted speed limit, after 24 hours. The road was then swept, road marked and the speed restriction removed.
“The site was swept again on Monday night,”” says Rob. “After the cold snap earlier this week speed restrictions were also put back in place to stop any loose chip flicking up and causing damage. This speed restriction will reduce the amount of noise heard by residents.”