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The NZ Transport Agency is leading a targeted $22.5 million programme of work to add a range of low-cost safety improvements to make high-risk sections of 30 regional state highways safer.

The roads are in Northland, Taranaki, Manawatu-Wanganui, Canterbury, Otago and Southland will be upgraded over the summer with rumble strips and better signs. Safety barriers will also be added to some roads.

While traffic volumes are lower on these roads, the risks for people travelling on them are real and many deaths and serious injuries can be avoided by making some relatively simple, but effective, improvements. For example, rumble strips can reduce all crashes by around 25 percent and fatal run-off-road crashes by up to 42 percent.

Work to install the road safety improvements will begin in February 2018.

The Boost programme is also investigating rural intersection activated warning signs (RIAWS) at a number of high-risk intersections on other state highways around the country.

Proposed RIAWs are in Northland, Waikato, Horowhenua, Canterbury and Central Otago.

RIAWS are electronic signs that reduce the speed limit on the state highway (usually from 100 km/h to 60km/hr or 70km/h) if a vehicle is turning into or out of a side road. RIAWS signs are already being successfully used at 13 locations around the country to improve intersection safety with minimal delays for road users.

Following discussion with councils and stakeholders, broader community consultation on RIAWS is intended to begin in March 2018.

This work is in addition to the $600m being spent targeting the prevention of 900 deaths and serious injuries on high-risk rural state highways over a decade under the Safe Roads programme.