Feed­back sought by NZTA on NO road safety

Waitaki Herald - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - TRANS­PORT

The NZ Trans­port Agency is invit­ing the com­mu­nity to have its say on ways to im­prove safety on State High­way 1 from the Waitaki River Bridge, north of O¯ amaru, to Dunedin.

Trans­port Agency system man­ager Graeme Hall said a team will be at the North Otago A&P Show in O¯ amaru on Satur­day Fe­bru­ary 24 to share in­for­ma­tion on pos­si­ble safety im­prove­ments and get feed­back and ideas from the com­mu­nity.

‘‘This is an im­por­tant stretch of high­way. It’s the main link be­tween Christchurch and Dunedin and it pro­vides con­nec­tions to the North Otago, Cen­tral Otago and Waitaki re­gions,’’ Mr Hall says.

‘‘Lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties along the route are grow­ing and there are also a num­ber of pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tions in the area, such as the Moeraki Boul­ders. It is a busy road and it is im­por­tant we im­prove it to re­duce the num­ber of peo­ple be­ing killed or se­ri­ously in­jured in crashes.’’

In the 10 years from 2007 to the end of 2016, 30 peo­ple were killed and 112 were se­ri­ously in­jured on the stretch of road.

Most se­ri­ous crashes in­volved peo­ple los­ing con­trol of their ve­hi­cle, run­ning off the road and crash­ing into road­side ob­jects such as a tree, fence or ditch, or hit­ting an­other ve­hi­cle head-on. There have also been a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of crashes at in­ter­sec­tions on the route.

Mr Hall said pos­si­ble im­prove­ments in­cluded putting in safety bar­ri­ers to stop driv­ers run­ning off the road into steep gul­lies and ditches or trees and posts, widen­ing the road shoul­der to give driv­ers more room to re­cover if they lose con­trol, in­stalling rum­ble strips to alert driv­ers if they stray across the cen­tre line, and putting in bar­ri­ers or wide cen­tre lines to help pre­vent head-on crashes.

Im­prov­ing safety at in­ter­sec­tions and the speed along the road would also be looked at.

‘‘We want to make sure that when driv­ers make mis­takes they don’t re­sult in some­one dy­ing or be­ing se­ri­ously in­jured,’’ Hall said.

‘‘We have a num­ber of ideas but we re­ally need the com­mu­nity’s help. The lo­cal peo­ple who use this road and live near it know it bet­ter than any­one else. We’re keen to hear their views on how we could make it safer. We had a team at the re­cent East Otago A&P Show in Palmer­ston and we got some great feed­back. We are hop­ing to add to that at the North Otago Show,’’ he said.

‘‘We’d en­cour­age any­one who’s in­ter­ested to come along and hear more about the project, and have their say. Peo­ple who can’t make it can still share their views on­line or by mail un­til March 3, 2018.’’

You can have your say on­line: nzta.govt.nz/o2d/have-your-say, or catch the NZTA team on Satur­day at the show­grounds.

At the re­cent East Otago A&P Show*: Bar­bara Lif­fi­ton, of Palmer­ston and Jude Ritchie, of Kar­i­tane. Bar­bara wanted “signs to en­cour­age tourists to pull over and let peo­ple pass them. We also need more di­rec­tional ar­rows so they stay on the cor­rect side of the road.”

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