Rest Area 300m: August 2006

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Quit

click pic for bigness
When the sign man goes rogue ...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I was going to dress up too...

"Finalists announced for Roading Excellence Awards"

Damn !

Not a mention.

I would have thought that pothole 47787 would be a sitter.

"a beautifully repaired hole, exemplifying the true art of the road worker, this difficult and demanding pothole was transformed by the exemplary skill and expertise etc etc..."

This is too much.

And they are having a big flash feed...

"Winners will be announced on Monday 28 August at a gala dinner at the Duxton Hotel in Wellington, with Minister of Transport, Hon. Annette King in attendance."

No Invite for Doddery ...

While smug townies get lots

Actually I'm not too sure what a Gala Dinner is, maybe they have donkey rides after.

Anyway, they can stick it ...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I Have Just The Thing ....

"I'm meandering my way through your blog archive from time to time. Wow. I have much more respect for what goes on on the road as a result. Thankyou

One question - with the risks that go with the lollypop with drivers that just don't see, why not also arm the lollypop guy/gal with an air rifle er, air horn?"

Interestingly, today a car driver that was stopped said "You have no signs back there you know ... "

We invited him politely to go back and look again.

He had driven past a full set of signs and cones and not seen a thing ...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Ladies Mile ... Day 1

The shiny new fluro vest, and the alert stance can only mean one thing.

We have a new crew member, fresh out of lollypop school.

To direct and control traffic you must hold a basic Traffic Controllers ticket.

It looks an easy job, and if the traffic is light and it's a nice day it can be quite pleasant.

It can also be cold, tiring, and mind numbingly boring.

It is also important. She is protecting our arses.

We are insured on the job, I could collect a hundred grand.

I 'm not keen though because you have to be dead.

Women are especially good on the stop/go, in my experience anyway.

An impatient late truck driver will happily wait for them, but snarl at me.

Funny That ...

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Present Tense

I've been teaching my daughter to drive.

I now know the true meaning of fear.

Actually she is a bit of a natural, but she does get very close to our marker posts.

Roadworkers make lousy driving instructors.

"Mind the pothole! ... Look Out for the marker peg! ... Negative Camber! " etc.

I think I'll have a Scotch and a lie down.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

But Relax I Shall

Bloody rain again.

It sounds as if Wellington is copping it.

It's hard to relax in the weekends when anytime the phone could go.

We have just finished clearing up after the last deluge.

The Night Has A Thousand Eyes

Measuring out the catch of whitebait (inanga)

David Slack, a man of impeccable taste, and who knows a good road when he sees one, writes extremely well.

Seems only fair that a nice fresh feed of whitebait should go his way

Delivery Address David?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Rocks ...

One of my top European correspondents sent me these photo's of a rock fall.

The activity in front of the fire engine looks serious to my eyes.

I googled the sign, did a bit of detective work and found this in the archives of the Tapei Times
Rock slide kills two
A rock slide hit several vehicles on a major north-south highway through the Swiss Alps early on Wednesday, killing two people, police said. The highway was blocked on the northern approach to the St. Gotthard tunnel, a major route linking northern Europe with Italy, state police said in a statement. About 60m3 of rock fell on the highway near the town of Gurtnellen, hitting a German-registered car traveling south and two goods trucks which were parked in a rest area on the northbound side, police spokesman Herbert Planzer said. The car's occupants -- a married couple from near Pforzheim in southwest Germany -- were killed. The two truck drivers survived the rock fall, although rocks tipped one of the vehicles over.

Meanwhile we have been working in a cutting.

No big rocks thank goodness but it looks a bit dodgy up there ...

Thanks Ersatz


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Passers By

This guy gave me a hell of a fright this morning.

I caught a glimpse of something coming up fast in the rear vision mirror.

Then he howled past in a cloud of liquid fertilizer.

I took this as he was on his second pass.

Later an elephant passed us going the other way.

We teased the mailman, pointing at his tyres, trying to convince him he had a flat.
Discussed the zen of metal roads & lack of rolling thereof (not ours, he said smugly)

Mostly we carryed on rearranging NZ, by carting bits from one place to another...

Just a very normal day really.

(links short term)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Face Down, Outside The Pub...

The centre of the North Island has been hit by ice and snow.

That means road closures, and increased traffic through our highway.

We have had an incessant stream of trucks rumbling past all night.

A lot of them don't come this way much, don't know the road, and we nearly always get an incident or two.

It's a bit rich though when they try and demolish the pub.

It was freezing cold when I took this photo of a truck and trailer lying on it's side outside the entrance to the Awakino Hotel Beer Garden. The photo is a bit blurry, - condensation on the lens.

He lost the plot coming down the hill, got into the grass, took out a sign, and over it went. There were two on board, both got shoulder injuries.

At least it ended up off the road which saves everybody a lot of hassle.

With the tractor unit righted, you can see how much of a close run thing this was ...

Is nothing sacred?

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

By Gum

So I was happily filling pothole No 47741 when a truck growled to a stop.
"Tree down bud", - so away I went.

It was a big gum tree. It had fallen across a farm gateway, the head on the road.
I arrived just as the R/T started to go ballistic.

It had missed a roller we had parked up by a few feet (that yellow thing there)
and demolished a couple of fences

The firewood potential is vast.
The farmer had to get a digger and a very manly chainsaw, while we cleared away the road.

Of course all the good firewood ended up inside the gate...

The farmer said, "You must be starting to get sick of this hill ..."

You can just make out the scar on the edge of the bush where the big rockfall came down a couple of weeks ago.

Also the overhanging tree, which I had thought would be the culprit.

It's probably saving itself for a cold rainy night....

Monday, August 21, 2006

Mobile Operations

Sometimes, you will pass a work truck or ute, parked up at the side of the road, the occupant watching you sail pass.

"Lazy sod", you think, "hiding from work "

You are being watched all right. In fact your presence is being passed on ahead by R/T.

We are doing a "mobile operation".

Small 5 minute jobs, where the loader can dive in and clear a small slip from a drain and get the water flowing again.

Putting up signs for a little job is a time wasting hassle, so we "do it mobile".

We have to be on our toes and concentrate on the traffic.

A pilot vehicle is positioned at either end of the job, and traffic reported on the R/T. The loader driver will then move in when the road is clear. He will keep to the left as much as possible, and pull over when traffic is coming.

Obviously trust and clear indications are important.

In the photo above, the loader is working after an "all clear". I am sitting on a bend, flashing lights going, and can see a good kilometre down a straight.

We also do this for sweeping operations with the broom tractor, even filling large potholes on a winding section of road.

If we are doing our job well you would never know something was going on....

But you do now .....

Sunday, August 20, 2006


The tipheads we are carting into are bogholes at the moment.

This one has been levelled off and looks easy. But it is full of soft spots and liquid mud under the top thin crust.

This is where my truck can use it's party piece to become unstuck.

You raise the tray, then slide it back lifting the whole rear of the truck off the ground and out of the hole.

Then by lowering the tray & sliding it out further you can push the whole truck forward about 4 metres at a time.

One must remember to have the handbrake on.

Or you become triumphantly unstuck, and the truck happily rolls off into the distance.

Don't ask me how I know that ...

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

It All Went Swimmingly ...

The 4x4 was dragged out of the river this morning.

Our top local digger operator and the Towie, (who has been doing a good trade recently) pulled it out after a diver hooked it up.

It seemed a bit odd to see the blue & white "diver down" flag by our river.

At about this stage the digger was having a bit of a problem keeping it's footing.

A digger in the river would cost a lot of boxes of beer (embarrassment tax)

So the tow line was hooked to the car and held it steady, and we used the winch on my truck to make sure the digger didn't have a swim.

The digger then pulled it out from a better position.

Easy Peasy ...

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Traces ...

Somewhere down in that river is a Nissan 4x4.

The driver just kept going at the end of the Rimrock Straight, just north of the Awakino Gorge tunnel.

The Nissan was airborne till it hit the water after going end over end.

You can see the path he took, clipping the end of the chevron sign.

Apparently he had been trained as a rig worker to escape from a ditched helicopter.

It saved his life.

Recovery is going to be a bit of a mission, and will probably involve a diver and a crane

You can also see how easy it would be to "go missing".

The only real indication that something is amiss is the damage to the sign.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Meanwhile ...

click pic for top secret bigness

Pot Hole Tracking Room
The Bunker

Condition Yellow is finally declared after July storms. Staff enjoy a quiet day.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Whitebait Season Opening Day Report.


When I was last moving down to Taranaki, I towed down a few old caravans. (One of those night moves as they were not all that legal.)

I was paranoid that I might have a breakdown in the Awakino Gorge and not be able to get off the road.
Now I routinely pull off into impossible areas.
You have to.
You do risk clobbering the bank, sliding off the road, and falling into culverts. (All of which I have done at some time)

I'm always bitching about mirrors. You have to be able to see the off side of the truck, especially about the front. The convex type are useless, you have a good field of view, but judging distance is impossible.
The type I have on the truck at the moment are far better and judging distance is easy, but you cannot see the bottom half of the truck. Wriggling off the road can involve a lot of hopping about and peering about, a bit like a demented Meercat.

Mind you, I have had some of our town brethren in the truck when making routine stops along the road. They go very quiet as you dive into a tight spot. They are spoilt, white lines and everything...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Ice Follies

Well, that was weird...

I've just got back from being called out to a hail storm, about 6 kms away.

There was a hail up to your ankles in a small 200 metre section of the highway.

Enough to cause havoc anyway as cars slid off the road and gracefully rotated this way and that.

The lone local cop was looking slightly flustered.

A 4x4 took out the roadside fence, but once a few flashing lights arrived calm was restored and the ice soon melted.

I can't believe how localized it was.

Very weird...

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Deja Vu

Notice anything...

Friday's accident happened in a spot where we have had accidents before.

In January a truck went over the bank here.

Both vehicles were travelling south, both lost the plot in the same place.

There are no road issues here, though it is a demanding corner, especially heading north.

You do get a first glimpse of the sea here, but the upcoming corner is what you should be concentrating on ...

Friday, August 11, 2006

"School Bus Crash"

Every morning two school buses leave our yard.
One heads south to Waitara, the other north to Piopio.
They are both driven by experienced, professional women drivers.

This morning the Piopio bus rounded a corner to see a car hit a bank and spin across the road straight into the front of the bus, finally careering off over the bank.

I was buying my morning pie, when the fire siren went off.
I asked a passing truck if he had seen anything, and he said, "I think the school bus has crashed...."

Our crew arrived early on the scene, they have gone up to the top of the corner to make sure nothing comes screaming down the hill. I have grabbed some cones and set them out as volunteer firemen are still arriving. The car is over the bank by the fire engine.

There are three inside, the rear passenger is unconscious

The rescue helicopter is in the air and soon makes an appearance.
The medic crewman watches the tail rotor clearance, the ambulance officer is also directing the pilot & giving height off the ground.

It's a tricky landing, power lines cross the road here.

The words "School Bus Crash" mean rescue services arrive from miles away, coming from Urenui, Piopio, & Te Kuiti.

My very dirty truck is at the northern end of the accident scene, and the door is open so I can hear the R/T.
I can also warn approaching trucks on the CB and they will warn others further down the line.

Luckily no children or the driver were hurt, there were only five I think on the bus at that point.
They did an amazing job, warning oncoming traffic, and ringing the emergency services.

However three were seriously injured in the car, one critically.

Another reminder as to how important the volunteer rescue crews are, especially in rural areas.

It could have been so much worse, but the bus driver stayed cool and kept her bus on the road.

A big shout out to the kids too, who did all the right things...

NZH News
Radio NZ Audio

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Light Blogging ...

So I have been down to the shop and got my steak, bacon & cheese pie.

I'm trundling past the depot heading off to rearrange NZ by carting slip material to the tip heads.

Out of the corner of my eye I see a few of the crew mucking about with the sign truck which has been reluctant to start.

Aha! (Thinks I) Jumper leads and my truck will sort it...

I stop and reverse back.


Someone has put a lamppost there.

Time of incident, till filling in form, ... 25 seconds.

Of course the whole crew, boss & all were in the front row stalls for this performance.

The shame!

Anyone else whistles "Underneath the lamplight .... " again gets a smack in the ear.

Ditto for any pole dancing, opinion polls etc, remarks on the R/T.

Not a good day.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Notice Anything ?

Our reflective Traffic Controller, musing on the more deeper and meaningful aspects of life has his brolly up.

The road is dry.

He is sheltering from the sun.

Suddenly, though we have heaps of cleanup work to do, all is well with the world.

A sunny day does that to you ...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Open For Business

Dawn this morning showed just what we were up against last night.

A heavy digger with a rock breaker spent all day today smashing rocks the size of SUV's into managable pieces to cart away.

About 15 minutes ago, the last rock was pushed off the road.

A few truckloads of metal and a bit of titavating and the roar of traffic past Fart Towers will resume.

And the Damocles Rock still hangs!

Last night's slip was slightly north of it

Meanwhile we have been tackling smaller slips of the mud variety.

Lots of them.

(5.20pm and the first heavy truck has rumbled thankfully past...)

Flickr Set
thanks Cara !

Male. Lives in New Zealand/North Island/The Road, speaks English. Eye color is blue.
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