Two stretches of State Highway 2 with poor safety records are being investigated to see what can be done to make them more forgiving.
The stretch of State Highway 2 between Pokeno and Mangarata in northern Waikato and Tauranga and Waihi in the Bay of Plenty, are over-represented in crash statistics.
To improve the safety record in both these areas the NZ Transport Agency is investigating Safe System Corridor Projects to save lives and lessen injuries by creating a more forgiving environment.
The Safe System approach looks beyond the driver of the vehicle to identify all the causes of crash trauma. All parts of the road system are investigated, including vehicles, roads, speed and road users to make journeys safer.
In the case of the Waikato stretch of SH2, historically called the Maramarua Highway, there have been 214 crashes in the eastern and western sections over the past ten years. Of these, 15 were fatal and 16 resulted in serious injury, mostly as a result of vehicles crossing the centreline or running off the road.
This Safe System project will identify improvements to reduce the number of head-on and run-off crashes and make the intersections safer.
The Transport Agency has commissioned two consultancy firms to investigate and design safety improvements for the two sections. Bloxam Burnett & Olliver is looking at the 9.5 kilometre eastern section while Beca is investigating the 7.4 kilometre western section.
This work began earlier this year and as options are developed the Transport Agency will seek feedback from affected residents and landowners. A Public Open Day is likely to be held in late May or early June.
In the past five years, State Highway 2 north of Tauranga to Waihi has seen four fatal, 26 serious and 72 minor crashes. The main causes of these crashes were crossing the centre line, turning across traffic and running off the road.
Work has begun to identify potential safety improvements within the highest priority areas; Omokoroa to Wairoa Road and through the town of Katikati.
Throught the project the NZ Transport Agency will work closely with the local community, residents and stakeholders to ensure the project and its benefits are understood.
A community open day is planned for later this year to give the public the opportunity to learn more about the solutions to make SH2 a safer state highway.