Feedback sought on road safety plan

by Mike Isle

The New Zealand Transport Agency is calling for public comments on a draft plan to improve safety on State Highway 1 between the Selwyn River and Ashburton.

Safety barriers to stop head-on crashes, rumble strips to give drivers a wake-up call, and intersection improvements are among possible changes to a high-risk stretch of State Highway 1. The NZTA has released a proposed plan and is encouraging people to have their say at one of three community drop-in events later in November.

“We have been investigating ways to make this road safer as too many people are being killed and seriously injured in crashes,” says NZTA system manager, Pete Connors.

“To make sure we get things right we asked people who use the road what makes this road feel unsafe and what worries them the most. We used this feedback, alongside our research, to shape this proposed plan.”

The proposed plan includes:

  • Installing flexible road safety barrier down the middle of the road to stop head-on crashes.
  • Adding turn-around areas at regular intervals to give local people in particular places to safely turn around.
  • Changing some intersections, so there is no right turn in or out of side roads. It can help prevent side on (T-bone) crashes caused by drivers turning across the busy highway. That will also prevent drivers from crashing into the back of vehicles that are waiting to turn right, and vehicles stacking over the railway line while waiting to turn right.
  • Improving other intersections and adding right turning bays to make those intersections safer.
  • Installing sections of side barrier in high-risk locations (such as in front of a culvert or drain).
  • Laying rumble strips to give tired or distracted drivers a wake-up call if they stray across the line.
  • Improving road markings, so they are easier to see at night and in wet weather.
  • Widening the centreline in places, so there is more space between traffic travelling in opposite directions.
  • Instigating speed reviews at Dunsandel, Rakaia, Selwyn, Chertsey and across the Rakaia Bridge.

“I would encourage people to attend one of these community events so they can have their say and understand how these proposed safety changes could affect the way they use the highway.”

Public consultation dates are:

  • Thursday, November 22, Dunsandel Community Centre, Tramway Road, Dunsandel from 3pm to 6pm.
  • Friday November 23, Former Ashburton i-Site, East Street, Ashburton from 10am to 1pm.
  • Saturday, November 24, The Salmon Reserve, Rakaia, corner of SH1 and Elizabeth Street from 11am to 2pm.

People who are unable to attend one of the community events can find out more and have their say at nzta.govt.nz/r2a or by emailing r2a@saferoads.co.nz.