Work underway to make Rai Saddle, Whangamoas safer


The NZ Transport Agency is starting work to further improve safety along State Highway 6 through the Rai Saddle and the Whangamoas.

The safety improvements will be undertaken until the end of May, and will see improved signage put up, along with 12km of 'rumble strips'.

Rumble strips are raised road markings that can be placed along the traffic lane white edge line and on centrelines. When vehicles drive over the markings the rumbling effect acts as a wake-up call, alerting drivers that they have veered out of their lane.

“The Rai Saddle and the Whangamoas are some of the most challenging stretches of highway in the region, and these improvements will make every driver safer,” said Mark Owen, the NZ Transport Agency’s Acting Highways Manager for Nelson.

Rumble strips are one of the most effective and widespread safety measures available, and are idea for New Zealand driving conditions. They are currently being installed on the hilly, winding SH2 Rimutaka Hill Road in Wellington.

“Rumble strips are one of the most effective road safety improvements available, with the potential to reduce injury crashes by 20% to 45% in the locations where they are installed.”

Following a recent crash reduction study on SH6 between Rai township and Hira, the Transport Agency identified that rumble strips on the centreline of the Rai Saddle and western side of the Whangamoa hills would reduce the likelihood of vehicles crossing the centreline, thereby reducing the risk of head-on crashes and side swipes. 

Due to the corners and nature of the road in this area, the rumble strips are being placed on top of the centreline, protruding from the painted line, creating a tooth-like effect that will be visible to all road users.

This work forms part of a series of safety improvement initiatives costing more than $1m on State Highway 6 north of Nelson in 2014/15, including road widening and guardrail installation near Gentle Annie and guardrails through the Whangamoas/Collins Valley and by Hillwood.

The Transport Agency advises motorists to expect delays while the work is underway.  Crews will be working in the centre of the road, and temporary traffic management systems will be in place.

“We thank motorists for their patience, and we know the public are very understanding when they see crews working to make their journeys safer.”

Mr Owen says a safe transport system depends on safer roads and roadsides, safer speeds, safer drivers, and safer vehicles. He says motorists can do their part by watching their speeds, driving with care, and ensuring their vehicles and tyres are well maintained.