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What's happening with the NZTA NZGTTM pilots - Northland

The Fulton Hogan Northland NOC NZGTTM pilot is focused on reactive and planned cyclic maintenance works. The trial ‘went live’ on central part of the State Highway network (generally within 80km of Whangarei) on 4 March 2023. It has since been extended to cover the mid-north area (based out of Kerikeri). Cyclic maintenance by its nature covers many locations, with a wide variety of activities and environments to deal with.

Fulton Hogan's focus has been to ensure their people on the ground have ‘fit for purpose’ guidance that they can use in their planned and unplanned works. They are also providing on-the-ground support and assurance for our people as they work through the change.

While the pilot has caused Fulton Hogan to evaluate how they do the work, it also causes them to ask why and when they are doing the work. The pilot requires everyone to ask searching questions about the roles and responsibilities of the various players (RCA, Client PCBU, TMC, Fulton Hogan as the lead contractor and sub-contractors). Fulton Hogan says they are fortunate that their ‘players’ are up for the challenge.

Levi Anderson-Crewther is Fulton Hogan’s Northland NOC Traffic Manager and is the local lead for the pilot.

“It’s definitely been a challenge changing the mindsets of not just the cyclic crews themselves, but the managers involved in the operational change. I think we are so used to following the rule book, we have potentially lost sight of what the reality is out on the road."

One of the most telling statements came from a cyclic operator on the second day of the pilot going live: “We can’t believe how many people are on their phones while driving past; even the truckies.”

We all know that people using their cellphones while driving isn’t a new issue, but it shows the crews are now more aware of their surroundings, rather than just leaving the risk of traffic to the TM crew to manage.

Levi notes that Fulton Hogan is lucky to have such a supportive client (NZTA) in Northland, which has enabled them to challenge some of the traditional response times for certain operations. Our cyclic crews are empowered to decide a job is not safe to do on the day and to come back at a later time to complete the works when they have more TM controls available.

"Safety is paramount and we are constantly looking to evolve our practices. It's great to be able to do this through the trials."

An example of this came in the form of a pothole forming in the median strip on a busy section of State Highway 1 south of Whangarei in the second week of the trial. The crew noted the pothole on the Monday and assessed that they did not have appropriate TM controls to repair it. The repair was able to be left safely until Wednesday when the crew had the right controls available and were able to do the repair safely.