New safety plan drafted for SH58
A lower speed limit, two new roundabouts and a median barrier are among several proposed safety improvements aimed at reducing the number of deaths along State Highway 58, north of Wellington.
Over the past 10 years there have been more than 200 crashes, causing four deaths and 17 serious injuries, on the section of the highway between the Hutt Valley and the Pauatahanui roundabout.
The NZ Transport Agency wants public feedback, closing on August 21, on a proposed package of improvements that include reducing the speed limit to 80kmh, installing roundabouts at the Moonshine Rd and Murphys Rd/Flightys Rd intersections, and widening shoulders and bridges to improve safety for road users.
It is also proposing to separate opposing traffic using a median safety barrier, which could increase travel times for some residents whose local roads join the highway.
NZTA senior manager of project delivery Chris Hunt said the agency was committed to addressing SH58’s poor safety record.
‘‘We know that any change of access can be inconvenient, but convenience must be weighed against the need to reduce the number of deaths and injuries that occur on SH58.’’
When the median safety bar- rier is in place, some right turns will be removed and some of the roads that connect to SH58 will become left turns only.
Some people would have little change to their access, Hunt said, while others might need to travel a few minutes longer to reach their destinations.
In 2014, NZTA consulted with the community on a package of safety improvements, and received feedback on how it could improve the proposal.
‘‘Since the 2014 engagement, we have addressed some safety concerns by realigning curves at Haywards Hill,’’ Hunt said.
‘‘We have also taken on board the feedback and expanded the proposed scope of improvements to achieve greater safety outcomes.’’
Community information days will be held at Pauatahanui School on July 26, 27 and 29. To register and view more proposal details, see nzta.govt.nz
The Westpac rescue helicopter on State Highway 58 in December last year after five people were hurt in a crash.