Work underway to prevent crashes

Work has now started on safety improvements which aim to prevent people being killed or seriously injured on State Highway 33 from the Te Ngae Junction to Paengaroa.

The initiatives range from a wider centerline which will reduce head-on crashes, flexible roadside safety barriers and road shoulders will be widened near Paengaroa to help drivers recover if they veer off the road.

The NZ Transport Agency’s Director Safety and Environment, Harry Wilson, says this work is the first stage in a larger project aimed at preventing simple mistakes resulting in people being killed or seriously injured.

“Sixteen people have died and 46 have been seriously injured on this stretch of road between Te Ngae junction and Paengaroa from 2006 and 2015. Most of these crashes were head-on or involved drivers running off the road and hitting trees, poles or deep ditches.

“We’ve talked to the community about how we can make this road safer, and we’re making these changes based on what they’ve told us as well as our research. The route is 34km long with some tricky terrain so that’s why it will be finished in three stages. The first stage is the easiest to complete and we hope to start on stage two next year and stage three in 2019,” Mr Wilson says.

Work will stop during the state highway works moratorium period in December/January. At times, a temporary speed limit will be in place with warning signs to advise drivers that the works are in progress.

Work is expected to be completed by early 2018, weather permitting.

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