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Be patient, take care while adjusting to new SH57 road layout

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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says the improvements to State Highway 57 near Levin will make the road far safer for everyone who uses it, and is encouraging people to be patient and take care as they adjust to the changes to the road’s layout.

As part of the SH57 safety improvements project, Waka Kotahi has installed roadside safety barriers on sections of Arapaepae Road South to improve safety for everyone who uses the highway. Vulnerable sections of SH57 between State Highway 1 and Heatherlea Road East will have roadside barriers installed on one or both sides of the highway, with appropriate gaps for property access, as work progresses.

Regional Manager Infrastructure Delivery Rob Partridge acknowledges concerns around whether the barriers leave adequate space to safely pass vehicles that have pulled over into the road shoulder, but says the improvements will make the road safer.

“Roadside safety barriers are highly effective in preventing people dying and being seriously injured in crashes on the road. They reduce the risk of run-off road crashes by stopping vehicles before they hit something more damaging – like a power pole, tree or drain.

“The road has been widened to accommodate the new infrastructure and improve safety for all road users. The 1.5-metre-wide shoulder and painted wide centrelines ensure there is enough space for vehicles to pass another vehicle that is slowing or stopped on the shoulder without moving into the opposing lane.

“We recognise these changes require people to make some adjustments because it’s not what they’re used to. It will take people time to get comfortable and familiar with the new road layout.”

Mr Partridge says the installation of safety barriers is often accompanied by what is referred to as the ‘shying’ effect. People don’t like to travel too close to the barriers initially, but this lessens over time as they become more comfortable.

“It’s important the safety improvements take account of the different ways people use the road. Our designers give a lot of thought to ensuring the design and construction of our safety improvements, including roadside safety barriers, allow for things like access to driveways on the opposite side of the road.

“We are committed to working with the community to understand their specific concerns and see if there is anything we can do to help mitigate those concerns.”

In the meantime, Mr Partridge requests that if people are using the road shoulder, they indicate and move their vehicle as far to the side of the road as possible. Other drivers should slow down when passing any vehicles on the side of the road, to ensure their safety and that of the driver and any passengers of the car that has pulled over, as well as any other road users.

“We ask everyone to take extra care and be patient while people adjust to the new road layout.”

The SH57 safety improvement project supports Aotearoa New Zealand’s Road Safety Strategy, Road to Zero, and is part of a programme of work delivering safety improvements, including speed management, on our highest risk intersections and roads. Through these safety improvements, Waka Kotahi aims to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.

A scale diagram showing the new road layout, including roadside safety barriers, road shoulder and wide centreline.

Download larger image [JPG, 184 KB]

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