Residents who live near the Mangawhero Stream Bridge, around 5km south of Matamata, are being asked what they think needs to be done to make the bridge safer.
There have been 29 reported crashes on the SH27 bridge in the past 10 years (from 2006 to 2016) and two people have died and two have been seriously injured in the five years from 2012 to 2016. Loss of control and head-on collisions are the most common crash types, with heavy commercial vehicles being involved in all fatal and serious injury crashes.
The NZ Transport Agency’s Waikato Highways Manager Karen Boyt says anecdotal evidence shows there have also been a large number of unreported crashes on the approaches to the bridge, and wing mirror strikes on the bridge itself.
She says the bridge lanes are narrow, leaving no room for mistakes and the bridge approach roads can be difficult to navigate.
“There are ways we can improve the bridge and the approach roads to prevent crashes like these, and to make sure if a crash happens, people are less likely to be killed or seriously injured,” Ms Boyt says.
There are a number options that can be considered to increase safety on the bridge, including making changes to the road approaching the bridge.
Other options include widening the road, and softening the sharp curves.
“We could also look at upgrading the bridge itself so it’s safer for wider or heavier vehicles, or replacing it altogether, possibly in another location,” Ms Boyt says. “In addition to resolving a safety issue, upgrading the bridge and approach roads would also allow larger vehicles to use the bridge meaning fewer trucks on other local roads.”
Feedback can be provided online in the “have your say” section at www.nzta.govt.nz/sh27-mangawhero-stream-bridge(external link)
Work to make other parts of State Highway 27 safer was announced in March this year. The work includes the instalment of flexible safety barriers in high risk areas as well as rumble strips and the widening of property entrances along State Highway 27, from Tatuanui to north of Matamata.
The bridge and the other State Highway 27 work is part of the Safe Roads and Roadsides programme which aims to prevent people dying or being seriously injured on rural roads. The programme was launched in June 2016.