Dancers grateful to teacher
The parents and group of young ballet dancers would like to say thank you very much to Faye Harbottle, who although retired from teaching, came to their rescue after the unavailability of their ballet teacher.
Much hard work on the girls’ part and expertise on Mrs Harbottle’s, made it possible for the girls to complete their Royal Academy of Dance exams.
Mrs Harbottle, we think you are wonderful.
We would also like to make it known that there are approximately 30 students in need of a dance instructor in the Matamata area, please contact Stephanie Whyte for more information on 888 3722.
Y Grinter I have been enraged since the article in the Chronicle regarding ‘‘A bridge too narrow’’.
I have lived in Taihoa for 16 years and travel over Mangawhero Bridge many times a week. I learned not to meet a large truck or vehicle at the same time when crossing the bridge. In doing that, I have to make a quick decision to brake, not to have vehicles up the back of my car, which disrupts normal traffic flow.
Last week I was travelling out of town behind a tourist bus which met a large truck at the same time crossing the bridge – there was no room for error.
I held back hoping nothing untoward would occur.
My son has been on a school bus returning home, sitting behind the driver where her mirror was clipped by an oncoming truck, which shattered her side window with the glass falling in, on to my son.
Surely she would not have been going at speed but it proves judgment is so crucial.
There is a bit of a bounce as large vehicles hit the bridge, which at speed could be catastrophic. The problem being the concrete kerbing is wider than the railing. There have been so many accidents around this bridge and does it have to take a fatality before it might be assessed further.
Surely if the bridge was built in the 1930s it is overdue for a replacement? Think of how transport has changed in 70 years and also the speed limit. Trucks can carry such heavy loads and the downward approach to the bridge on both sides, there is no room for error or misjudgment. I can’t see how it is a reasonable width in present times.
I know there is a saying that accidents happen close to home, well
Bridge a nightmare
this is my nightmare.
Surely we want to keep the roads safe in our community – this bridge does not comply.
Maybe the state highway manager Kaye Clark should take an eighthour shift sitting on the hill above and film a business day of traffic and see if it changes her views.
How often has the New Zealand Transport Agency’s state highway manager Kaye Clark used the Mangawhero Bridge when a big truck is there at the same time?
It was OK when the trucks were a lot smaller but it is dangerous nowadays because the size of the trucks has increased considerably.
We have had several near misses so now we pull to the road side and wait for not only the trucks but also the cars to cross.
It’s better to be sure than sorry. The bridge definitely needs widening before a fatality occurs.
June Gleeson NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) state highway operations manager Karen Boyt, replies:
The NZTA acknowledges your correspondents’ concerns regarding the Mangawhero Bridge on SH24 but last week’s comments by the NZTA’s State Highway Manager Kaye Clark still stand.
Like many bridges of this size and age across our region, the Mangawhero Bridge is capable of carrying the existing volume of traffic in this area (which is not expected to increase in the foreseeable future) and it is also suitable for use by heavy trucks.
With regard to requests for safety works or upgrades to our roads, the Safe System approach recognises that even if other safety initiatives are put in place, people will still make mistakes and be vulnerable in a crash. With this in mind, in our road safety work we aim to strengthen all parts of the road system – to achieve not only safer roads and roadsides, but also safer speeds, safer drivers and safer vehicles.
This means that safety works to the road infrastructure itself are just one way of minimising risk on our roads. These are more likely to become a priority where there is a high crash [rate]. This does not appear to be the case for this section of highway according to our records.
Our data from the last 10 years (January 2002 to December 2011 inclusive) shows that of five crashes in the vicinity of this bridge, three were non-injury crashes and two were minor injury crashes.
One of the crashes was related to an insecure load on a vehicle and two others were caused by vehicle faults (tyre blowout and rusted trailer hitch).
A fourth occurred when a vehicle pulled out of a driveway in front of oncoming traffic; and the fifth happened when a car following too closely ran into another vehicle from behind after the first vehicle stopped suddenly without warning. Given these details, it would be difficult to connect these incidences to the Mangawhero Bridge as a direct cause.
We continue to monitor our roads for priority safety work where required but in line with the Safe Systems approach, we also encourage all road users to think about their driving, their speeds and the condition of their vehicle.
Stay alert while driving – don’t drive if you’re tired.
Make sure your vehicle is in good, safe condition. Secure loads safely inside vehicles or on trailers or trucks before you set out on your journey. Make sure you have a clear view of the road while driving or exiting from driveways or side roads. Watch your following distances and always drive to the conditions.’’
More details on road conditions, road works in the region and information on how to plan your journey safely are available by phoning the NZTA’s freephone 0800 4 HIGHWAYS or 0800 444 449, or check out the information online at highwayinfo.govt.nz.