First weather-ac­ti­vated signs

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - ABBY BROWN

New Zealand’s first weather­ac­ti­vated road signs have gone live on State High­way 29 over the Kaimai Range.

‘‘The weather sta­tion gives the in­for­ma­tion to the speed signs so the road is in a smart way al­low­ing and in­form­ing driv­ers to drive to the con­di­tions,’’ Trans­port min­is­ter Si­mon Bridges said at the site last week ahead of the signs be­ing turned on on Novem­ber 2.

‘‘Whether that is sunny, which is at 100kmh, or whether it is se­ri­ous wind, fog, rain or ice, where the speed can come down.

‘‘I’m re­ally con­fi­dent we can get bet­ter road safety out of this.’’

Dur­ing the two year trial, MetSer­vice weather sys­tems on the range and pow­ered by a com­bi­na­tion of so­lar, wind and bat­tery, will send alerts of rain or fog to the Auck­land Trans­port Op­er­a­tions Cen­tre.

The trans­port agency will then de­cide if they need to ac­ti­vate lower speed lim­its through their 22 elec­tronic signs on the Kaimai, New Zealand Trans­port Agency’s chief safety ad­viser, Colin Brodie said.

The trans­port agency will mon­i­tor the weather sta­tion and their four web cam­eras and ad­just the speeds be­tween 30kmh to 100kmh de­pend­ing on con­di­tions.

‘‘Th­ese signs will al­low us to drop the speeds to 60kmh on the Waikato side and 80kmh on the Bay of Plenty in ad­verse weather,’’ Brodie said.

‘‘They will also be used dur­ing road works or in the event of a crash when speeds may be re­duced to as low as 30kmh.’’

The trial aims to en­cour­age peo­ple to drive at safe speeds when rain, ice and fog hit the Kaimai Range.

‘‘Our data shows that over 70 per cent of the crashes on the Kaimai Range hap­pen in wet weather, and that over 40 per cent of th­ese were caused by driv­ers trav­el­ling too fast for the con- di­tions,’’ he said.

‘‘De­spite the change­able weather on the Kaimai Range peo­ple still at­tempt to travel at 100kmh.

‘‘ If it is suc­cess­ful, and there is a re­duc­tion in death and se­ri­ous in­juries within the trial site, it may be rolled out across sim­i­lar sites around New Zealand.’’

PHOTO: ABBY BROWN

The New Zealand Trans­port Agency’s chief safety ad­vi­sor Colin Brodie and Trans­port min­is­ter Si­mon Bridges in front of the weather-ac­ti­vated road signs on the Kaimai Range.

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