South Taranaki Star

Dangerous rural intersecti­ons identified for improvemen­t


Potentiall­y dangerous intersecti­ons in rural Taranaki are under investigat­ion as a coroner recommends a nationwide review of rural roads following the death of a mother and her two babies in the South Island.

Coroner Marcus Elliot has recommende­d transport agency Waka Kotahi conduct a review of internatio­nal, national and regional practice of the use of traffic signs and markings that relate specifical­ly to controllin­g risks at rural crossroads.

His recommenda­tion followed the inquests of Chante Harmer, 30, and her two children – 19month-old Te Awanuiaran­gi and 8-month-old Wysdom – after their car collided with another vehicle near Ashburton in April 2019.

The inquest found Harmer might not have seen a give way sign as she approached an intersecti­on before she went through it and collided with a ute.

Coroner Elliot has also recommende­d the Ashburton District Council conducts a review of rural intersecti­ons within its boundaries.

Taranaki’s three district councils say they are continuall­y looking into safety improvemen­ts on the hundreds of kilometres of rural roads in the region.

Fifteen people have died on

Taranaki rural roads in the past five years.

New Plymouth District Council manager transport Rui Leitao said safety improvemen­ts were planned on rural roads over the next three years.

They included better signage and enhanced road marking, removing physical barriers to improve visibility and reviewing speed limits, especially outside rural schools.

Intersecti­ons had already been identified for improvemen­ts, including Tarata Rd and Dudley Rd, while safety improvemen­ts would be carried out on Lepperton’s Richmond Rd and Tariki Rd. Upper Carrington Rd and Otaraoa Rd have also been identified for widening.

‘‘We’re currently working to improve Kairau Rd East at Waitara Rd and Suffolk Rd South at Tarata Rd, intersecti­ons where roadside fences or crops are spilling on to road reserve, which are impacting visibility,’’ Leiao said.

‘‘Public feedback is important and we recently upgraded the signage at the Kairau and Richmond intersecti­on following reports from residents of motorists not giving way or slowing down.’’

Stratford District Council roading manager Stephen Bowden said they were in the process of improving safety at rural intersecti­ons including Opunake Rd and Palmer Rd and Opunake Rd and Manaia Rd.

Bowden said they had recently completed work to instal electronic school zone signs on Pembroke Rd near the intersecti­on near Pembroke School.

‘‘We have also signalled to Waka Kotahi that Midhirst and Flint Rd intersecti­ons on SH3 require safety improvemen­ts,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re particular­ly concerned about the Flint Rd intersecti­on as this has worsened due to residentia­l growth in the area and has been a long-standing issue when events are on at the A&P Showground­s and speedway.’’

A spokespers­on for the South Taranaki District Council said it had identified the Eltham Rd and Rowan Rd intersecti­on for safety improvemen­ts. It had received 44 complaints related to rural intersecti­ons in the past 12 months, including Manawapou Rd and Whareroa Rd where new signage had been installed.

All three councils said they were also working with Waka Kotahi on several intersecti­ons that bordered state highways.

 ?? SIMON O’CONNOR/STUFF ?? Intersecti­ons on Opunake Rd are undergoing safety work.
SIMON O’CONNOR/STUFF Intersecti­ons on Opunake Rd are undergoing safety work.

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