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Option to improve SH1 and SH5 intersection south of Tirau up for discussion

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The NZ Transport Agency is holding a public information day this Thursday to discuss the proposed option to improve safety at the intersection of State Highway 1 and State Highway 5, south of Tirau.

The Transport Agency has been working closely with the South Waikato District Council, local iwi and various Road Safety Partners to identify a suitable option which will provide a long term solution to improving safety at this busy intersection, which has been the site of 44 crashes in the last five years (2008 to 2013) five of which resulted in 4 deaths and 4 serious injuries.

The Transport Agency’s Principal Safety Engineer, Michelle Te Wharau, says the public information day is being held this Thursday (3 October) at the Tirau Town hall from 3.00pm to 7.00pm, the project team will be available to explain the preferred proposal and to answer questions about the options investigated.

She says the preferred option by the group was a four-legged roundabout, the reasons for selecting this option will be clearly explained at the information day along with information about the other solutions investigated.

Mrs Te Wharau says that this intersection has a long history of crashes and despite improvements made in the last five years including installing additional signs including electronic signage and improved line markings, drivers are still finding this intersection challenging.

“We are looking for a long term solution to make this intersection safer for the community and a four-legged roundabout is viewed as a more forgiving form of intersection that self manages travelling speeds and makes decision making easier as some drivers still find the current T-shaped intersection challenging,” says Mrs Te Wharau.

At present 11,500 vehicles per day travel through Tirau and the traffic splits to 8,000 continuing the trip south and 3,500 heading east to Rotorua.

Mrs Te Wharau says once the public information day is completed, the project will progress to the next phase which is to design and construct the roundabout.

“We have been fortunate that this project was approved for funding and all going well we hope to commence construction this summer.”

Mrs Te Wharau says she hopes the consultation process will also be an opportunity for the families and others affected by crashes or near misses at this location to have their say too.  “We recognise the human face behind tragedies and serious injuries when a crash occurs.  We welcome all comments as part of gathering a complete picture on the preferred option for SH1/SH5 intersection.”

“We’re committed to reducing the risk of crashes at this intersection as part of creating a safer transport system through safer roads and roadsides, safer use, safer vehicles and safer speeds.  We ask that motorists do their bit too by ensuring they travel at safe speeds, take extra care when turning, and remain alert for any unexpected vehicle movements.  We can all work together and share the responsibility of reducing harm on our roads.”

Public information day information

The public information day will be held at The Tirau Town Hall, SH1 between 3.00 pm – 7.00 pm, on Thursday, 3 October, 2013.  The project team will be on hand to discuss the roundabout proposal and answer any questions people may have.

Public enquiries and feedback on the preferred option can be sent to: SH1-SH5-Tirau@nzta.govt.nz from this Thursday, the closing date for public feedback is 5.00 pm Friday 18 October 2013.

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