Roadworks hit struggling South Waikato businesses


Roadworks through Putaruru come as another blow to businesses still struggling from the impact of covid.

LUKE KIRKEBY/Stuff

Roadworks through Putaruru come as another blow to businesses still struggling from the impact of covid.

Putaruru businesses have been dealt another crippling blow as they try to recover from the impact of Covid-19.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has begun an up to six week safety improvement project along State Highway 1 through the town which relies heavily on through-traffic for custom.

The project includes upgrading the pedestrian island outside Countdown, installation of a new pedestrian island near the Hog and Hounds Sports Bar, raising the pedestrian crossing near Neal St, introducing angle parking, and stormwater upgrades to improve the drainage of surface water in the area.

But with road closures, reduced speeds, and limited areas to park whilst the work is carried out, businesses are taking a significant hit.

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Over the Moon owner Sue Arthur questions the fairness of roadworks crippling businesses (file photo).

Luke Kirkeby/Stuff

Over the Moon owner Sue Arthur questions the fairness of roadworks crippling businesses (file photo).

Award-winning Over the Moon Dairy Company owner Sue Arthur questioned the project’s timing.

“On day one of the works we were down 69 per cent [business] on the same day last year and what we took doesn’t even cover wages let alone anything else,” she said.

“Is it fair for businesses to be crippled for the sake of this project, on top of the hit we have already taken through Covid lockdown?”

Bev’s Delights owner Lisa Liddell agreed. Her income has halved.

“I realise it has to be done and it is going to be great when it’s finished but did it have to be done this year?” she said.

‘We had seven weeks with no income and now we are facing this as well. It’s not good.”

Liddell, who employs two staff, said she was having to rely on foot traffic and word of mouth to get by.

NZTA acting portfolio delivery manager Jo Wilton sympathised with the business owners.

“We understand these works are disruptive to local businesses as we approach the busy festive season and appreciate the support from the community,” she said.

“Once completed [it] will be a safer and more appealing place to stop for both local residents and visitors in time for the busy summer holiday period on the roads.”

To help the businesses get through, business association Pride in Putaruru has launched a Shop and Win in Putaruru promotion.

Pride in Putaruru's Linda Galbraith with the business association's Shop and Win in Putaruru promotion poster.

LUKE KIRKEBY/Stuff

Pride in Putaruru’s Linda Galbraith with the business association’s Shop and Win in Putaruru promotion poster.

Spokesperson Linda Galbraith said ten $50 Putaruru vouchers will be given away each week for every $20 spent in the town until December 20. There will also be a grand prize of $1000 and two $250 vouchers in the final week.

“Basically when you spend $20 and write your details on the back of the receipt you will go in the draw,” she said.

“They are Putaruru vouchers so the money goes back into the town.”