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Kaimai Range weather-activated speed sign trial a step closer

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The NZ Transport Agency will be testing weather-activated speed signs on State Highway 29 over the Kaimai Range next week, in preparation for an innovative new trial aimed at reducing crashes.

People travelling on the highway between Monday 19 October and Thursday 22 October will see the new signs showing various speed limits such as 60km or 80km, while the tests are carried out. 

Electronic road signs showing ‘Signs under test’ will give drivers advance warning before they enter the test site which is between the bottom of the Waikato side of the Kaimai Range and the power station at Ruahihi.

During the test period the speed limits are not official or enforceable however motorists are advised to drive with care in the area. In the event of wet weather the testing will be carried out on the next available day.

The trial is set to start in November and will see 22 variable speed signs installed on a 12 kilometre stretch of SH29 between the State Highway 28 (SH28) junction on the Waikato side, and Soldiers Road on the Tauranga side.

The variable speed signs, along with four web cameras, will be linked to a weather station at the summit of the Kaimai Range.

When adverse weather hits, the posted speed will be reduced based on the conditions.

The Transport Agency’s chief safety advisor, Colin Brodie says the two year trial aims to encourage people to drive at safe speeds when rain, ice and fog hit the Kaimai Range.

“Our data shows that over 70 percent of the crashes on the Kaimai Range happen in wet weather, and that over 40 per cent of these were caused by drivers travelling too fast for the conditions,” he says.

“Despite the changeable weather on the Kaimai Range people still attempt to travel at 100km/h.

“The new signs will allow us to drop the speeds to 60km/h on the Waikato side and 80km/h on the Bay of Plenty in adverse weather.

They will also be used during road works or in the event of a crash when speeds may be reduced to as low as 30km/h.”

The speeds will be enforced by police once the trial goes live.

For more information about the trial go to: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/kaimai-weather-activated-variable-speed-limit-trial/(external link)

View the Kaimai Range trial site map [PDF, 419 KB]

Motorists travelling around the rest of the Bay of Plenty region are advised to allow extra time as road maintenance and work on other projects continues.

Speed restrictions and traffic management will be in place on many routes to allow the work to be carried out safely.

Sites where delays of between five and 15 minutes are possible are detailed below to allow people to plan ahead when travelling.

SH29A Maungatapu underpass

Lane closures will be in place this month to allow for the construction of temporary lanes in the roundabout. The lane closures will occur at times between 9.00am to 4.00pm daily.

Traffic will then be diverted onto the temporary lanes to allow  contractors to start building the western Maungatapu Bridge.

SH2 Waioeka Gorge – rock fall prevention work

Stop/go traffic management and a 30km/h speed restriction will be in place at different sites on this route from 8.00am to 4.00pm daily while contractors carry out rockfall prevention work.  

The work is expected to be completed by Christmas.

SH36 Rotorua to Tauranga

Speed restrictions will be in place on several sites along this route this month to allow workers to install fibre optic cables.  Drivers should allow an extra five minutes travel time.  This work is expected to continue through to late December.

The Transport Agency apologies for any inconvenience caused and thanks motorists for their patience during the works.

 

For personalised information about driving conditions on their frequently used routes, motorists can sign up to On The Move at  www.onthemove.govt.nz(external link).

People travelling around the Bay of Plenty region can go to www.drivelive.nz/tauranga(external link), a dedicated website that tells people what the current journey times are to get to key places.

For real time information on highway conditions and incidents  or to report issues on the network visit www.nzta.govt.nz(external link) call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS or follow @nztawaibop on twitter.

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