New safety plan drafted for SH58

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - STAFF RE­PORTER

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.

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‘‘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.

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