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Improving the safety of State Highway 1B

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The latest round of safety improvements on Gordonton Road or State Highway 1B from Taupiri to Gordonton, have been completed.

Side barriers, shoulder widening, wide centrelines and rumble strips are being added in high-risk areas from Taupiri through to the Ballard Rd intersection.

Work will get underway towards the end of the year to make the section of the road from Ballard Rd intersection to Taylor Rd (excluding Gordonton village) safer. Side barriers, rumble strips and shoulder widening will be added in high-risk areas, together with high performance road markings to improve visibility at night and in wet conditions. The first section of the project – adding safety improvements to 1.2km of SH1 between Taupiri and the Ngaruawahia section of the Waikato Expressway – was completed in 2012.

Engagement with key stakeholder groups is underway and discussions with community representatives starts soon.

The NZ Transport Agency’s Waikato Highways Manager Karen Boyt says there were nine deaths and 20 serious injuries on the three stretches of the road between 2006 and 2015.

“While the volume of traffic south of Ballard Road will reduce once the Huntly and Hamilton sections of the Waikato Expressway are completed, there is still expected to be a significant number of vehicles using the road,” Ms Boyt says.

“The most common cause of crashes is from motorists losing control and running off the road.  Speed, unforgiving shoulders and the proximity of objects such as trees and power poles add to the risk on the road, along with vehicles crossing the centreline and motorists making incorrect decisions at intersections.”

SH1B will be returned to Waikato District Council when the Hamilton section of the expressway opens in 2020. The safety improvements are being added now so the road is fit for purpose at handover, Ms Boyt says.

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