Waka Kotahi is making State Highway 2 in the Wairarapa safer for pedestrians, with construction starting next week on the first three of a planned 21 raised pedestrian crossings between Masterton and Featherston.
The work is part of the Road To Zero strategy developed in partnership with NZ Police, Ministry of Transport, local government and WorkSafe that adopts Vision Zero and sets a target to reduce deaths and serious injuries on New Zealand’s roads, cycleways and footpaths by 40 percent by 2030.
Regional Manager Maintenance and Operations Mark Owen says that increasing safety for pedestrians in the Wairarapa is a key focus for Waka Kotahi.
“We are committed to Vision Zero, a vision for New Zealand where no one is killed or seriously injured on our roads. We want everyone who uses our roads to get to where they’re going safely,” Mr Owen says.
“State Highway 2 between Masterton and Featherston is a busy stretch of road, with lots of different people using it, including many pedestrians in the towns along the highway.
“We have identified 21 locations for raised pedestrian crossings along State Highways 2 and 53 which will significantly improve safety for pedestrians. International research shows that raised pedestrian crossings reduce deaths and serious injuries by about 40 per cent.
“The crossings are the first part of a comprehensive safety programme in the Wairarapa between Masterton and Featherston, which also includes proposed roundabouts and barriers, and a review of the speed limits.
“Each of these safety interventions will work together to improve the safety for everyone who uses State Highway 2, whether they be pedestrians, cyclists or motorists.”
Construction on the first three raised pedestrian crossings is scheduled to begin on Thursday 3 June and will involve a series of day and night works in Carterton, Masterton and Featherston.
“We’re very aware of the importance of State Highway 2 to residents and businesses in the region, as well as those travelling through from other parts of the lower North Island,” Mr Owen says.
“We have tried to minimise the impact on both residents and road users by breaking the construction into day and night works.
“Work at the side of the road on the paths and crossing surrounds can be safely done during the day, with lanes on the road altered to allow room for the works while still letting motorists and cyclists travel in both directions.
“Construction work across the road itself will take place at night under stop/go traffic control. Doing this work at night when traffic is light will minimise traffic delays and disruption to people’s daytime activities.
“Access for pedestrians along the footpaths and the pedestrian crossings will be safely maintained with work areas fenced off and with traffic supervisors assisting as necessary.
“For the safety of our workers, traffic management will be in place to ensure vehicles move slowly through the worksites. We advise road users to plan ahead using our journey planner, be courteous passing the worksites and stay up to date via our social media.
“If we have weather delays, we will postpone the works until the next available fine day.”
Construction is expected to take up to four weeks, pending any weather delays.