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Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is proposing new safer speed limits for State Highway 2 (SH2) between Masterton and Featherston and is seeking feedback from locals and people who use this road regularly.

The current speed limits on the road are being reviewed in an effort to save lives and prevent serious injuries along this section of highway. Alongside the speed review, Waka Kotahi has also designed new safety infrastructure improvements.

“Everyone using our roads should get to where they’re going safely, whether they’re in a car or a bus, on a motorcycle or a bike, or on foot,” says Director of Regional Relationships Emma Speight.

“Between January 2010 and December 2019, four people lost their lives and 28 people were seriously injured on SH2 between Masterton and Featherston. The impact of these deaths and serious injuries is devastating.

“Even when speed isn’t the direct cause of a crash, it is always a factor in the severity and can be the difference between a person being killed, seriously injured, or walking away from a crash. Safer speeds can save lives.

“Waka Kotahi has a vision of an Aotearoa where no one is killed or seriously injured on our roads. To achieve this, we need to create a safe transport system that recognises that people make mistakes and is designed so that these mistakes don’t cost lives.

“That’s why, in addition to proposing speed limit changes, we are making infrastructure improvements including new median safety barriers, roundabouts and raised pedestrian crossings.”

The flexible safety barriers will be installed down the middle of the road to prevent head-on crashes. If a vehicle hits a flexible safety barrier, the steel cables flex, absorbing the impact and slowing down the vehicle and keeping it upright.

This makes them highly effective in preventing deaths and serious injuries for all road users, include motorcyclists who have less protection in a crash. Motorcyclists are more likely to survive an impact with a flexible safety barrier than an impact with trees, poles or oncoming vehicles which the barrier will prevent them striking in a crash.

Raised pedestrian crossing will significant improve safety for pedestrians, as they are more visible to oncoming motorists. The design for the SH2 crossings includes improved vehicle ramps that are a gentler gradient for vehicles to driver over.

The new roundabouts at Ngaumutawa Road, Norfolk Road and Wiltons Road will make these key intersections safer by making it easier for motorists to negotiate these busy intersections.

Ms Speight says that the design of the infrastructure improvement projects is progressing well.

“Three of the planned 21 raised crossings have now been constructed. We’d like to thank the public for their patience while this construction has taken place. Designs are progressing for the remaining crossings to enable a funding application to get underway.

“The team is now getting consent and funding applications ready for the roundabouts and barriers. Pending approvals and funding availability, we hope to start construction on the roundabouts in early 2022, but people will have a chance to tell us what they think of the designs.

“We are sharing our proposed speed limit changes and finalised designs for the roundabouts and barriers, and asking the community to tell us what they think,” Ms Speight says.

Waka Kotahi is encouraging everyone in the community and people who use SH2 regularly to have their say on the new speed limit proposals and finalised designs for the roundabouts and barriers.

Locals can expect to see a brochure in their letterbox soon that outlines the proposed new speed limits and safety infrastructure designs. The brochure includes a Freepost form to make a submission.

People can also provide their feedback by visiting our ‘SH2 Wairarapa safety improvements’ webpage or emailing SH2Wairarapa@nzta.govt.nz

SH2 Wairarapa safety improvements

The consultation period is open from today, and closes at 5pm on Friday 27 August 2021.

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