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New $3.5M roundabout for popular holiday highway

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Holidaymakers will be amongst the first to use a $3.5million roundabout that’s set to improve safety on the way to some of the North Island’s summer hot spots.

The NZ Transport Agency says the roundabout, which replaces the T-intersection where State Highway 25 (SH25) to Thames meets State Highway 2 (SH2), was completed this month - just in time for the Christmas holiday traffic travelling between Coromandel, Auckland and the Bay of Plenty.

The Transport Agency’s Waikato journey manager, Liam Ryan, says the new roundabout will improve safety at the site by creating a safer way to move traffic.

“More than 24,000 vehicles a day pass through this site each day during peak holiday times and in the past people coming from the Coromandel on SH25 and then onto SH2 to Auckland had a difficult time safely turning right,” he says.

This roundabout significantly improves that tough turn and allows traffic to pass through safely, reducing the crash risk.”  

Mr Ryan says that while the roundabout would also improve congestion on the approach from Thames, people should still plan ahead for delays during peak times.

“People travelling on SH2 towards Auckland may experience some delays during peak times, especially after Christmas and New Year’s Eve, when people are returning home from their holidays on the Coromandel Peninsula,” he says.

“In the past they were given a free run, but northbound SH2 traffic will give way to traffic coming from SH25 as they pass through the roundabout.

“People travelling on SH25 from the Coromandel will notice a real difference as they will safely be able to get onto SH2 without waiting in the heat for a gap in traffic.”

The Transport Agency has released maps that provide a nationwide snapshot of highway traffic routes, dates and times where traffic congestion is expected to be particularly heavy during the 2014/2015 Christmas- New Year holiday period.

Mr Ryan says the maps will help motorists plan ahead and avoid travelling during the times congestion is predicted to be heaviest.
 “My advice is to plan to avoid peak traffic where you can and give yourself enough time to take plenty of rest or sightseeing breaks along the way,” he says.  

 It’s your holiday after all, so why not make the journey an enjoyable part of it with stops along the way – you can’t beat an ice-cream from a dairy on a hot day.”

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

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

Editor’s note:
Over the past 10 years there have been 37 crashes recorded by police at the SH2/25 intersection. Two people have died, five people were seriously injured.  Twelve people suffered minor injuries during that time.

Congestion maps are can be found here(external link).

The NZ Transport Agency’s top tips for driving safely during the holidays.

Plan ahead.  Get your vehicle checked before you head out, plan to avoid peak traffic where you can and give yourself enough time to take plenty of rest or sightseeing breaks along the way.  It’s your holiday after all, so why not make the journey an enjoyable part of it.

Drive to the conditions.  This isn’t just about weather conditions—it’s about the road you’re on, the traffic, your vehicle and load, your speed, your following distance, and adjusting your driving for wet and windy conditions.

Watch out for fatigue.  Long trips are tiring and fatigue can be deadly behind the wheel. Get a good night’s sleep beforehand, plan in advance where you’ll take breaks along the way, and be aware of any medication you’re taking that might affect your driving.

Keep your cool.  Holiday driving can be frustrating with busy roads, stifling heat and restless kids in the car. So please, be courteous and patient while on the roads.  Don’t get provoked by other drivers’ aggressive behaviour, and wait to overtake until you get to a passing lane or can see enough clear road ahead of you to do it safely.  And be sure to take enough games, books, DVDs or electronics to keep the kids occupied along the way.

Buckle up.  Don’t let your family holiday be marred by tragedy simply because someone didn’t buckle up. If you’re the driver, you are legally responsible for making sure all passengers under the age of 15 are securely restrained with either a safety belt or child restraint.

Children must be properly restrained by an approved child restraint until their 7th birthday.

It’s important to remember that we all play a part in making our roads safer for everyone using them.

Traffic on the open road increases sharply during the peak holiday periods, and drivers have to share the road with a range of vehicles, from recreational cyclists to campervans and boats being towed. Research shows us that tailgating is one of the most annoying things you can do as a driver, and it’s extremely unsafe too, so always keep at least a 2-second following distance between you and the vehicle in front.  This gives you a safe stopping distance if the vehicle in front of you stops suddenly.

We all make mistakes sometimes, but mistakes on the road can have serious or even deadly consequences.  Staying alert, being courteous and driving to the conditions are all key elements of a safe journey for you and your passengers this summer.”

Find out about making every journey safer by visiting www.saferjourneys.govt.nz(external link)

For more information please contact:

Natalie Dixon
Waikato / Bay of Plenty Media Manager

T: 07 928 7908
M: 021 928 413
E: natalie.dixon@nzta.govt.nz

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