Open road sign spells dan­ger

Piako Post - - FRONT PAGE - KA­T­RINA TANIRAU

Michael Fi­oli­takis moved to Mor­rinsville two years ago to re­tire in a peace­ful, coun­try town without traf­fic prob­lems and bought a prop­erty in a qual­ity sub­di­vi­sion.

He says he did not ex­pect to be liv­ing next to an open high­way.

New speed limit signs erected on SH26 East have Fi­oli­takis riled.

At the be­gin­ning of Au­gust, the New Zealand Trans­port Agency re­placed the old 70kph speed limit signs be­tween Seales Rd and the Pi­ako River bridge to 50kph, which was badly needed as a sur­vey car­ried out by New Zealand Trans­port Agency found about a num­ber of years ago.

That is the good part as far as the traf­fic in and out of the Holm­wood Park en­trance goes.

The prob­lem is that they moved the open road sign, 165 me­tres closer to town and within the res­i­den­tial area where Fi­oli­takis lives.

‘‘Un­der the old speed limit, out­go­ing traf­fic past our place aver- aged 70-80kph as the open road sign was on the out­side of the bridge. Now with the new open limit, the speed has in­creased to 90-100kph,’’ he said.

‘‘The new open speed limit sign is vis­i­ble vir­tu­ally from the Holm­wood Park en­trance some 200 me­tres away and driv­ers put their foot down as soon as they see it do­ing full speed as they go past.’’

While NZTA in­formed the Mata­mata-Pi­ako District Coun­cil of the change and it was pub­lished, NZTA did not elab­o­rate about the new po­si­tion of the open limit sign.

‘‘We and our neigh­bours weren’t in­formed or con­sulted about it un­til we saw the new signs be­ing erected,’’ Fi­oli­takis said.

‘‘After mak­ing sev­eral calls to NZTA to ask why they changed the po­si­tion of the signs, we got con­tacted by their signs en­gi­neer, who said that he made the de­ci­sion based on a three year old sur­vey and that there is noth­ing we can do about it!’’

There are four main en­trances into Mor­rinsville with new 50/100kph signs, and the other three while not as densely pop­u­lated, have had the new signs erected in the same spot as the old open speed limit signs.

This is the only one which has been moved 165 me­tres closer to town and past res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties.

‘‘We know that there will be an ac­ci­dent here soon in­volv­ing one of the neigh­bours try­ing to turn into their drives,’’ he said.

NZTA was ap­proached for com­ment but didn’t re­spond be­fore time of print.

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