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Safely managing traffic

Road works create potential hazards for traffic, pedestrians, cyclists and shoppers, so Citycare Civil’s traffic management crews play a crucial role to keep everyone safe while work proceeds.

A major redevelopment underway presently is the high-profile Main North Road bus priority lane project in north-west Christchurch, which will take approximately six months.

Citycare Civil is the head contractor for the project for the Christchurch City Council, connecting communities in the northern suburbs.

It’s a hectic arterial route between the central business district and the busy Northlands Mall in Papanui. Buses are constantly carrying residents to and from the city and shoppers are accessing the mall.

Citycare teams are working on an intersection upgrade at Langdons Road, stormwater upgrade, surfacing and line marking.

Main North Road night

On the day shift, responsibility for the project’s traffic safety is in the hands of Citycare Civil Site Traffic Management Supervisor (STMS) May Leatu.

“I love that it’s a challenge every day. My job is different every day, working out the best way to work with the least effect on the public, businesses and traffic and keeping people informed. It’s all about collaboration and communication,” she says.

May joins the team talk at the beginning and end of each day on site and plans the best approach for traffic flow, adjusting to where the work is focused and which contractors are doing what on any given day.

“We’re always the first on the site and the last to leave,” she says.

“I work hard to do the job well so people get home safely to their loved ones. I get great satisfaction in making a difference on the road for people,” she says.

“Everyone is trying to get somewhere in a hurry and we have to maintain our patience and smile,” she says.

One of the biggest safety issues Citycare teams face is the speed of cars coming through roadworks where the drivers are not following the temporary speed restrictions, Citycare Civil Operations Manager for Surfacing and Traffic Management Hayden Wilson says.

“This is not only endangering the safety of our workers but also that of the members of the public,” he says.

“So, May and her team are key to keeping everyone safe with the limited controls that they have available to them relating to managing the speed restriction,” Hayden says.

May started working at Citycare in traffic control three years ago. She had been a full-time mother and returned to the workforce as her husband pursued his studies.

At first it was eye-opening: “Before I started I never had an understanding of why there was traffic management,” she says.

Within three months, May began some traffic management training and since then she has progressively studied and qualified to the top rank of Level 2/3 practising STMS.

“I’m now training to be a mentor so I can help the younger staff to progress and have a career, sharing my knowledge about the job just as my colleagues shared with me when I started,” she says.

“I was quite honoured to be put forward for the mentor course.

“It’s a privilege to share my knowledge with the young ones who want a future and it’s worth it as you see them go higher in the industry,” May says.May Leatu