Better visibility at intersections, a review of parking outside the Z Service Station in Waikuku, and safety barriers to help stop people being killed or seriously injured in a crash are among changes people would like to see on State Highway 1, through North Canterbury.
The NZ Transport Agency has been looking at ways to make a stretch of State Highway 1, between Saltwater Creek and Tram Road, safer.
Between 2007 and 2016, 13 people were killed and 48 seriously injured on this stretch of road. Many of these deaths and injuries were caused by head-on crashes or drivers running off the road and hitting trees, poles or deep ditches.
Transport Agency System Manager Pete Connors says the team held a community event in Woodend in November last year to share their road safety ideas and to get feedback from people who use the road. They also invited feedback online and by mail.
“More than 70 people came to speak to us at the community event and we received 74 feedback forms, and a number of emails.
“Since then, we’ve had great conversations with people in the community and commuters about making the road safer. We wanted to find out what makes this road feel unsafe and what worries drivers the most,” Mr Connors says.
“People have told us the high traffic volumes, and speed in some areas, made them feel unsafe and some felt nervous turning onto or off the state highway. Others were worried about drivers crossing the centreline while roadside parking affecting visibility was an issue for some.
“People also said they would support flexible safety barriers down the middle of the road to help prevent head-on crashes and they would like speed to be reviewed, and more signs to make people aware of the speed limit. People also wanted the existing Ashley River/ Rakahuri Bridge widened or a new bridge built.”
Mr Connors says feedback from people who know the road well is really important.
“We use the information alongside our research to make sure we haven’t missed anything and that the safety improvements we decide on are the right ones for the community and for people who use the road," he says.
The team has also met stakeholders such as Waimakariri District Council, Environment Canterbury and the Heavy Haulage Association to add to the feedback and information they got from the public, to make sure they have got the full picture, Mr Connors says.
The project team will make final decisions on safety improvements for this road and share them with the community later this year.
The Safe Roads project looks to upgrade the road so that a simple mistake on this highway doesn’t result in someone dying or being seriously injured.
More information can be found on the NZ Transport Agency website at www.nzta.govt.nz/a2b(external link)