Otaihanga intersection getting safety makeover


Safer journeys are within sight at a high risk intersection on State highway 1, with the NZ Transport Agency beginning work tomorrow to replace the intersection of Otaihanga Rd near Southward Car Museum with a large two lane roundabout.

NZTA Wellington Highway Manager Rod James says the new roundabout is the latest in a suite of safety improvements carried out on the stretch of SH1 between Otaihanga Road and Waikanae, and will help to reduce the risk of severe injuries and fatalities at this intersection.
“We’ve had a number of crashes arising from traffic turning at this intersection, and the roundabout will reduce the risk of these happening in the future, as well as reducing the speed of traffic through this area.”
Eventually the Kapiti Expressway is planned to reduce traffic volumes on the existing SH1 route past the Otaihanga Road intersection by some 50%, and this will provide enhanced safety for motorists travelling through the intersection.
Mr James says the Expressway project is currently going through an appeals process, with two appeals heard at the High Court last week against a Board of Inquiry’s decision to approve regulatory and resource consents for the Expressway. 
Should the project proceed, construction is likely to start this year, and be open by 2017.
“Should  the expressway bypass this intersection in the future, the safety benefits of improving it now are still worthwhile, as this intersection will become an important part of the local road network”
Mr James said “although much of the work on the roundabout will be conducted off the road, to help minimise traffic delays, some speed restrictions will be in place from August, and drivers are urged to take care and to observe the temporary speed limits while the work is taking place”.
The roundabout will be completed in the first half of next year.
“We are looking forward to providing the benefits of this safety improvement to users of the section of SH1 and the Kapiti community as quickly as possible.”