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Coming soon – a safer SH2 for Wairarapa

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Major safety upgrades for State Highway 2 are set to get underway this year as part of New Zealand’s Road to Zero strategy, reducing the risk of serious crashes for everyone who uses the road.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has appointed construction firm Higgins Contractors to deliver a suite of safety improvements on the busy 15km stretch of SH2 in Wairarapa, including intersection upgrades and the installation of flexible wire-rope median barriers.

“This section of SH2 is a high-risk stretch of road with a history of serious crashes. From 2016 to 2020, there were 10 crashes which resulted in people dying or being seriously injured along this stretch of road,” says Waka Kotahi Director of Regional Relationships, Emma Speight.

“Upgrading three key intersections with new roundabouts and physically separating traffic with new median safety barriers will significantly improve safety along this busy corridor, reducing the likelihood of crashes occurring, and ensuring that when drivers do make mistakes those mistakes don’t cost lives,” says Emma Speight.

The safety improvements on SH2 between Masterton and Carterton are one component of work to make SH2 in the Wairarapa safer for everyone who uses it, alongside upgrades to pedestrian crossings in the towns and a review of speed limits which is still in progress.

“Improving roads and intersections, providing safer crossings for people walking or biking, and ensuring the speed limit is right for the road are all key components of Road to Zero, New Zealand’s road safety strategy.

Road to Zero

“Road to Zero is built on the idea that while human beings are fallible and mistakes are inevitable, deaths and serious injuries are not.  If you make a mistake when driving it shouldn’t be fatal for you, your passengers or anyone else on the road around you,” says Emma Speight

The Mayors of Carterton and Masterton welcomed the next steps for the project.

“We want to see a safer State Highway 2,” says Carterton Mayor Greg Lang.

Waka Kotahi has come to the party with the planned construction of roundabouts at key intersections and plans for safe crossings. We must have safe routes through our Carterton community, and between all our towns,” says Greg Lang. 

“The confirmation of a roundabout being built at the intersection of Ngaumutawa Road and SH2 is something that I and others have lobbied for over many years. This intersection has been of great concern because of the amount of heavy vehicle traffic having to join a busy State Highway in close proximity to a large primary school, and many businesses,” says Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson.

“This new roundabout will enable smooth movement of traffic, significantly reducing the pressure some drivers feel to take unnecessary risks. I look forward to construction work being completed, making our key road transport route safer for all motorists,” says Lyn Patterson.

The package of safety improvements includes three new roundabouts at high-risk intersections along the corridor:

  • SH2 and Ngaumutawa Road (improving safe access onto the heavy traffic bypass)
  • SH2 and Norfolk/Cornwall Roads
  • SH2 and Wiltons/East Taratahi Roads.

The project will also deliver central median wire-rope barriers, a safe turnaround area near the Clareville Saddlery/Hughes Line, and improved line marking and road surfacing along an 8.6km-long stretch of SH2.

Higgins staff will be on site completing preliminary work such as ground investigations and survey, and relocating underground services in the coming weeks. Construction on the first roundabout, at Wiltons Road and East Taratahi Road is expected to begin in approximately August this year.

SH2 Wairarapa highway improvements project page

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