Something has to be done about road now
There has been way too much carnage on the Horowhenua section of State Highway 1 over the last couple of weeks.
It has rocked our community and many are questioning how and why.
I extend my sympathy to all those who have lost a loved one in these terrible motor vehicle accidents. It’s so sad and affects so many people.
In these trying times our local Police, Fire and Ambulance staff do a great job as first responders. The difficult circumstances they find themselves can be very sad for them to deal with — despite having had professional training.
Some of you might say these accidents are caused by poor driving and not driving to the conditions and you have a point.
This section of State Highway was never designed for the volume of traffic it’s now carrying. The railway bridges at Tatum Park and O¯ hau were built in the 1960s, they are narrow and now well past their use by date.
This was a similar situation in Ka¯ piti prior to the expressway being built. It has significantly reduced fatal accidents and improved overall safety and efficiency.
Despite the O¯ taki to Levin Expressway now being watered down to a two-lane road (because NZTA has had its State Highway funding raided for Auckland trams), the community and motorists need some urgent safety improvements now.
As a minimum NZTA should get some temporary flashing warning signs erected along the highway for the heavy holiday traffic. They will no doubt want to consider dropping the open 100 km/hr speed limit in some places. I would be keen to see the evidence of how much speed was a factor in these latest crashes before they bring in permanent speed restrictions.
It’s interesting to note there are now around 5.2 million registered motor vehicles across the country and this is growing by 200,000 vehicles a year, so if the Horowhenua Expressway isn’t built over the next decade we will be faced with another million vehicles on the road. This will see more fatal accidents and diabolical congestion in Levin’s Main Street.