The NZ Transport Agency has put in place a temporary speed limit on the SH50 Hawke's Bay Expressway near Napier Airport and other measures to help keep visitors safe on the roads during Rugby World Cup 2011.
Acting state highways manager Gordon Hart says the NZTA has temporarily lowered the speed limit between the Napier Airport intersection and Meanee Quay to 80km/hr to help improve safety for the high volumes of visitors expected in Hawke’s Bay during the Rugby World Cup visitors.
“We want this to be a safe Rugby World Cup 2011 on Hawke’s Bay roads,” says Mr Hart.
“With the number of overseas visitors set to swell over the next couple months, it’s important we take some temporary steps that will make this busy stretch of highway safer for motorists who are unaccustomed to driving in New Zealand.”
The temporary speed limit has been implemented along with the introduction of flexible centreline median posts. These have been used to highlight the acceleration lane that is provided exclusively for right turn only traffic, to create visual thresholds in the lower speed zones, and to prevent people from crossing the centre line.
“These measures will improve safety along the highway and at intersections during Rugby World Cup 2011, and make the highway more forgiving in the event of driver error.”
Other measures being implemented throughout the region include lane arrows outside facilities such as rest areas.
The NZTA has worked closely with Hastings District Council and Napier City Council on the safety measures.
Safety measures on the highway are just one part of the NZTA’s efforts to keep visitors safe on New Zealand’s roads during the RWC.
The NZTA is also undertaking a public information campaign encouraging visitors and travellers around New Zealand to prepare carefully for their trip and allow enough time for driving so they can arrive safely at their destination. The campaign will focus strongly on aspects of driving in New Zealand that they may not be used to, such as driving on the left.
This includes an advertising campaign to target visitors arriving in New Zealand to prepare them for the experience of driving on New Zealand roads, and distributing copies of the brochure What’s different about driving in New Zealand to rental vehicle companies, accommodation providers and other visitor information services such as i-Sites and AA centres.