The NZ Transport Agency has responded to community requests for wider pullover bays on the left-hand verge of SH27, southbound between Waharoa and Matamata.
Some residents who live on the road asked for the safety barrier to be moved further to the left to make a wider and safer stopping place for them to wait before turning right into driveways on the opposite side of the road.
The Transport Agency has agreed to increase the size of the shoulder, creating a safer environment for motorists to pull off the highway. Contractors have taken down the barrier posts, which will be reused elsewhere, and work will begin removing the concrete foundations laid for the posts around the end of August. Construction of the new barrier will begin in mid-September.
“We talk to communities before we start work, asking locals how they think we can make their road safer,” Regional Transport Systems Manager, Karen Boyt says. “While no concerns about the width of the shoulders were raised during consultation, local residents came to us with their concerns when the posts started going up. We’re pleased we were able to work with the community and come up with this solution.”
Ms Boyt says the wider shoulder can be provided opposite driveways between Waharoa and Matamata because of the generous width of the road. However, a wider shoulder can’t be provided for all sections where barrier is being installed, as the width is more restrictive in many areas.
Roadside barriers are being added to the section of the state highway beginning at the southern side of Tatuanui through to north of Matamata, south of Pohlen Rd. Between 2005 to 2014 there were 14 deaths and 33 serious injuries on this section of the highway. A single crash in 2005 resulted in nine deaths.
“Many deaths and serious injuries on our roads are caused by head-on collisions or people running off the road and hitting trees, poles or deep ditches,” Ms Boyt says. “Barriers along this stretch of the highway will stop vehicles hitting something less forgiving, like a tree or a culvert, preventing needless deaths or serious injuries.”
The government is investing $600m over six years to prevent deaths and serious injuries on high-risk rural state highways over the next decade.
The Safe Roads and Roadsides programme aims to prevent people from dying or being seriously injured on our rural roads. Around 1500km of rural state highways throughout the country will be made safer through relatively simple measures, such as rumble strips, shoulder widening, safety barriers, better signage and changes to speed limits.
Parts of State Highway 27 have also been prioritised for resealing when there are warmer and drier weather conditions. Potholes are filled as soon as possible when the Transport Agency is made aware of them. If people see potholes we encourage them to call us on 0800 44 44 49 so they can be fixed. A temporary fill is usually carried out first and a more permanent repair is scheduled for drier, warmer weather conditions.