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Kapiti News - 2021-07-21

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Waka Kotahi eyes a NZ with safe roads

Opinion

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is asking for feedback from communities in and around Otaki ¯ and Levin about proposed safety improvements and current speed limits on State Highway 1 (SH1). In the five years from 2016 to 2020, seven people lost their lives and 28 people were seriously injured on SH1 between O¯ taki and Levin. “We want everyone who uses our roads to get to where they’re going safely,” said director of regional relationships Linda Stewart. “Safe speed limits and infrastructure improvements will save lives and reduce the number of people seriously injured on New Zealand’s roads.” Waka Kotahi is planning a combination of safety improvements to SH1, including painted wide centrelines, side and median barriers, three new turnaround locations and a new roundabout at the SH1/SH57 intersection. Some safety improvements have already been installed in Manakau and O¯ hau. These safety improvements are part of the O¯ taki to north of Levin works programme, which focuses on improving the safety and resilience of the road while Waka Kotahi continues working to deliver a new 24km four-lane highway to the east of the existing SH1 within the next decade. “When the new highway is open, SH1 will continue to connect communities and be an important local road,” Stewart said. “In the meantime, traffic volumes on this stretch of SH1 will remain high, so we are focused on improving safety for both local and through traffic. “We want to tap into local knowledge and find out what people think of our proposed infrastructure changes, as well as the current speed limits on SH1 between Taylors Rd in O¯ taki and just beyond Kawiu Rd, north of Levin. “Even when speed doesn’t cause the crash, it’s what will be most likely to determine whether you or someone you love is killed, injured, or walks away unharmed from that crash. “That’s why we need to make sure that speeds are safe and appropriate for the road. As a busy state highway with both high-risk intersections and rural residences, it is important the speed limits on SH1 reflect the risk on the road,” he said. “We want to hear what locals and people who travel this route regularly think about the current speed limits, how they use the road and what their concerns might be.” Feedback will feed into the technical assessment to help Waka Kotahi determine whether to propose speed limit changes to improve safety, where any proposed new speed limits would begin or end, and if any other improvements are needed. “Road to Zero, New Zealand’s road safety strategy, sets us on a path to achieve Vision Zero, a New Zealand where no one is killed or seriously injured on our roads.” The public engagement period runs until Wednesday August 11.

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