State Highway 6 between Blenheim and Nelson is a high-risk rural highway. Between 2008 and 2017 19 people died and 90 were seriously injured in crashes on this stretch of road.
Many of these crashes involved loss of control, with drivers running off the road and hitting roadside objects such as trees and power poles. There have also been head-on crashes on this highway, and some at intersections.
The NZ Transport Agency has been looking at ways to make this road safer. To make sure we get things right we sought feedback from the community and stakeholders. We held a series of community events to share our ideas and find out more from people who use the road. We also invited feedback online and by mail.
We asked people what makes this road feel unsafe and what worries them the most.
The valuable feedback we received helped us shape a draft option to help stop people dying or being seriously injured on this road. It includes:
Installing flexible road safety barrier down the middle of the road in high-risk sections to stop head-on crashes.
Adding turnaround areas to give people places to safely turn around.
Widening the centreline so there is more space between traffic travelling in opposite directions.
A new roundabout at the Marlborough Airport intersection in Woodbourne, near Blenheim.
Installing a ‘Intersection Speed Zone’ at the intersection of SH6 and Rapaura Road near Blenheim. These activated signs will slow traffic on the state highway if a vehicle is turning into or out of the side road.
Side barriers in high-risk locations, such as in front of culverts or drains.
Motorcyclist safety rails will be added to both new and existing side barriers along the route between Rai Valley and Hira. If a rider falls off their bike the rails redirect them along the barrier and away from the guardrail posts, reducing the chance of them being seriously injured or killed.
Rumble strips to give drivers a wakeup call if they stray out of their lane.
Wider road shoulders to give drivers a chance to recover if they lose control or need to move out of someone's way.
Looking at speeds along the route, and around some schools.
What will happen next?
Our proposed design is not final. Over the next few months we will be taking it out into the
community and to key stakeholders to make sure we have got it right. We’ll consider the feedback we get before we confirm our design and begin working through our internal processes to apply for construction funding. If funding is approved, we will update the community with construction timings and staging.