Over a thousand of New Zealand’s road and rail workers have returned to work today in a bid to improve the country’s transport systems and post-lockdown economy, the New Zealand government said.
Employees from the state-owned KiwiRail will work on City Rail Link, New Zealand’s largest infrastructure project, KaikÅura earthquake rebuilding efforts, and Wellington metro upgrades.
We know the industry is now raring to go– Winston Peters, New Zealand’s deputy prime minister
Work on 25 of the 44 state highway projects will restart for crown organisation NZ Transport Agency, including between PÅ«hoi to Warkworth, and on Transmission Gully, with the rest of the work resuming next Monday (4th May 2020).
The reintroduction of work coincides with the relaxing of New Zealand’s alert level to level 3, after it was raised to level 4 at the end of March, when only essential construction work could take place.
The government has said that it is currently unsure to what extent the pandemic has affected construction timeframes.
Winston Peters, New Zealand’s deputy prime minister, said: "We’ve worked hard to help cushion the blow from Covid-19 with initiatives like the wage subsidy and advance payments to transport contractors; and we know the industry is now raring to go."
Phil Twyford, New Zealand’s minister of economic development, said: "For example, the KaikÅura rebuild will see around 450 road and rail workers back to work, City Rail Link expects 400 workers back this week, and Transmission Gully and PÅ«hoi to Warkworth will ramp back up to hundreds of workers at each.
"Moving to alert level 3 does not mean a return to pre-pandemic ways of working. Strict health and safety protocols are being followed at every site to keep workers and the public safe. These include restricting access to sites, requirements for workers to maintain physical distancing and the use of additional protective clothing."
Image: Britomart Station will be redeveloped as part of City Rail Link (Cityraillink.co.nz)