The NZ Transport Agency’s acting Waikato/ Bay of Plenty highways manager, Niclas Johansson says over the past decade there have been eight deaths and five serious injury crashes on the stretch of highway.
“The majority of these crashes have come from vehicles losing control on the corners, running off the road, or crossing the centre line and hitting oncoming traffic,” he says.
“The changes being put in place will reduce the risk of these types of crashes, making the road and roadside more forgiving and reducing the impact if a driver makes a mistake and crashes.”
Side barriers, which isolate cars form hazards, and wider centre lines, which will provide greater separation between vehicles along the 10.5km stretch of the highway will be installed as part of the project.
Work will also be carried out to improve visibility on the roundabout on the northbound exit of the expressway, and improvements will be made to signs and road markings in low visibility areas. Improvements will also be made at the Bankier Rd intersection.
The project is expected to be complete by the end of October (weather dependent).
The Transport Agency is working with the contractor to minimise disruption to traffic but drivers should expect minor delays at times and allow extra time when travelling in the area.
The project is part of a $600 million nationwide road safety programme to help bring down the country’s road toll.
The Government’s Safer Roads and Roadsides Programme will see safety improvements made to more than 90 high-risk sites on rural State Highways in 14 regions.
The safety upgrades will target causes of crashes by including a mix of road improvements, realignment of corners in some areas to improve visibility, side barriers, median barriers, rumble strips, wide centrelines, road marking and improved signage.
The work will be carried out by the Safe Roads Alliance on behalf of the Government.
The Alliance is made up of Transport Agency staff and infrastructure consultancies Beca, Bloxam Burnett and Olliver (BBO) and Northern Civil consulting.