Some­thing has to be done about road now

Kapiti News - - News -

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.

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