May­ors plead for ac­tion on high­way

Kapiti News - - News -

The may­ors of Ka¯ piti and Horowhenua have is­sued a joint plea for the Gov­ern­ment to step in over a road they’re call­ing a “killing field”.

It fol­lows two fa­tal crashes on the stretch of State High­way 1 south of Levin in the space of a few hours on Tues­day last week.

Wendy Kauwhata, 54, died at the scene of the two-car crash at about 4.50pm on SH1 south of the Horowhenua town.

Her part­ner, Colin Kauwhata, was in an in­duced coma while a 15-year-old boy who was also in the car needed surgery for two bro­ken fe­murs.

About 7km south of the crash, an­other per­son died in a sep­a­rate in­ci­dent at about 7.10pm in­volv­ing a car and a truck north of the in­ter­sec­tion of Waikawa Beach Rd and SH1.

Ka¯ piti mayor K Gu­runathan and Horowhenua mayor Michael Feyen were seek­ing an ur­gent meet­ing with se­nior NZTA of­fi­cials to make safety changes be­fore there were more deaths.

“These re­cent tragic ac­ci­dents con­tinue the ob­ser­va­tion of former coro­ner Philip Comber who noted that, over the past 25 years, the roads had be­come ‘a killing field marked like a bat­tle­field with white crosses’,” Mr Gu­runathan said.

Peo­ple in O¯ taki were vul­ner­a­ble be­cause they were forced to travel north to Levin and Palmer­ston North for ac­cess to a lot of their ser­vices, he said.

“O¯ taki res­i­dents rush­ing to ac­cess health ser­vices have to ne­go­ti­ate this killing field.” Mr Feyen said State High­way 1 was a killer high­way.

This stretch of road is in­fa­mous for ac­ci­dents, and we have had a di­a­bol­i­cal last two weeks and the amount of grief that brings to our whole district is im­mense. Michael Feyen

“This stretch of road is in­fa­mous for ac­ci­dents, and we have had a di­a­bol­i­cal last two weeks and the amount of grief that brings to our whole district is im­mense.”

The pair want safety im­prove­ments to be done with ur­gency and a clear start date.

Horowhenua po­lice have also is­sued a state­ment en­cour­ag­ing road users to re­port dan­ger­ous driv­ing. Se­nior Sergeant Sam Gilpin urged driv­ers to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the safety of their pas­sen­gers and other road users.

“The ac­tions you take as a driver don’t only im­pact on you but on all the road users around you, and po­ten­tially those road users’ fam­i­lies and friends. While po­lice are com­mit­ted to re­duc­ing death and in­jury on our roads we can­not do it alone.

“If you see any dan­ger­ous driv­ing that could put lives at risk, please pull over to a safe spot and call 111.”

- Ge­orgina Camp­bell / New­stalk ZB

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