Tackling a notorious highway
‘‘I'd like it to be 50. It could be something to work on.’’
Quite a lot, Waihola people are hoping, following news that the NZ Transport Agency proposes to reduce the speed limit through the Clutha district town, from 70kmh to 60kmh, on one of the south’s most dangerous sections of State Highway 1. The process to make the change could start happening this month.
Waihola Cafe and Bar manager Nicola Cairns, who with partner Peter Michelle also owns Lake Waihola Holiday Park behind the pub, said the road seemed to be getting busier and busier, with a lot more big trucks.
‘‘It can be tricky to judge distances because the traffic is moving so fast, and it can be hard to negotiate. You can be waiting a long time to make a turn [onto the highway] to get out, or get across the road.’’
It could be quite daunting for people pulling out of the camping ground, especially those towing caravans.
She felt most people would be happier if the speed limit was lowered even more.
‘‘I’d like it to be 50. It could be something to work on.’’ difference will 10kmh
A lower speed limit would also be better for business in Waihola, because slower moving traffic would give visitors more time to pull in, and in general would make the road a lot safer, she said.
Transport Agency senior safety engineer Roy Johnston said if the speed limit proposal went ahead, the process to change it could start in May.
This would involve public con- sultation with community, police, businesses and residents for feedback, and to decide on the way forward.
The Waihola area is included in the nationwide $600m rural road safety initiative Safe Roads. It is part of the SH1 Mosgiel to Balclutha section of the notoriously treacherous north to south state highway, which has been earmarked for future improvement by the transport agency.
At the moment, the agency is spending between $3.4m and $5.1m on the SH1 Dunedin to Mosgiel stretch, to improve road and roadside safety, which will include additional side barriers, a wider centre line or median barrier at the Mosgiel end, and high performance road markings.
It has been identified as one of the roads that can be made safer. In the last 10 years, at least two people have lost their lives and 34 people have been seriously injured along this busy section of road.
The NZ Transport Agency is proposing to lower the Waihola speed limit from 70kmh to 60kmh on State Highway 1. Waihola Cafe and Bar/ Lake Waihola Holiday Park manager Nicola Cairns.