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Proposed plan to reduce crashes on State Highway 6 between Blenheim and Nelson

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Flexible barriers down the middle of the road to stop head-on crashes, a new roundabout at Marlborough Airport, and rumble strips to give drivers a wakeup call are among road safety ideas proposed for a high-risk stretch of highway between Blenheim and Nelson.

The NZ Transport Agency has released a proposed plan designed to reduce crashes causing death and serious injury on State Highway 6, and members of the community are being encouraged to have their say on the plan.

 Transport Agency System Manager Pete Connors says in mid-March the project team will hold community events in Blenheim, Havelock, Rai Valley and Nelson to share information and get feedback on the proposed safety improvements.

 “We have been investigating ways to make this road safer as too many people are being killed and seriously injured in crashes,” Mr Connors says.

“To make sure we get things right we asked people who use the road what makes this road feel unsafe and what worries them the most. We used this feedback, alongside our research, to shape this plan. Road users and the community now have an opportunity to comment on what we’ve come up with.”

20190225 sh5 nelson to blenheim

The proposed plan includes:

  • Installing flexible road safety barriers down the middle of high-risk sections of road to stop head-on crashes
  • Adding turnaround areas to give people places to safely turn around.
  • Widening the centreline in some areas. Widening the centreline can reduce serious crashes by up to 20 percent.
  • Constructing a new roundabout at the Marlborough Airport intersection near Blenheim.
  • Installing an ‘Intersection Speed Zone’ at SH6/Rapaura Road near Blenheim. These activated signs slow traffic on the state highway if a vehicle is turning into or out of the side road.
  • Installing side barriers in high-risk locations, such as in front of a culvert or drain.
  • Adding motorcycle underlay rails to both new and existing side barriers between Rai Valley and Hira. If a motorcyclist falls from their bike, these rails redirect the rider along the barrier and away from the guardrail posts, reducing the chance of seriously injury or death.
  • Installing rumble strips to give drivers a wakeup call if they stray out of their lane.
  • Widening road shoulders to give drivers a chance to recover if they lose control or need to move out of someone's way.
  • Looking at speeds along the route and around some schools.

 

Between 2008 and 2017, 19 people died and 90 were seriously injured in crashes on SH6 between Blenheim and Nelson. 

Mr Connors says many of these crashes involved loss of control, with drivers running off the road and hitting roadside objects such as trees and power poles. There have also been head-on crashes on the highway, and at intersections. 

“The improvements we are looking to make will help prevent these types of crashes from occurring in the future. They will make the road much safer for everyone who uses it,” he says. 

The proposed plan is not final, and Mr Connors says the Transport Agency is seeking input from the public before the project team finalises the design, completes the business case and applies for construction funding. 

“I encourage people to attend one of these community events, so they can have their say on these proposed safety changes.” 

People who are unable to attend one of the community events can find out more and have their say at www.nzta.govt.nz/b2n(external link) or by emailing evan.freshwater@saferoads.co.nz

 

Thursday, 14 March
Marlborough Convention Centre
42A Alfred St, Blenheim
3pm -6pm

Friday, 15 March
Havelock Town Hall
Main Road, Havelock
9:30am – 12:30pm

Friday, 15 March
Rai Valley Fire Station
9 Bryants Road, Rai Valley
3pm - 6pm

Saturday, 16 March
Nelson Markets
Montgomery Street, Nelson
8am to 1pm


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