Dancers grate­ful to teacher

Matamata Chronicle - - Opinion/news -

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.

Name with­held

Bridge dan­ger­ous

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.

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