Extra boost for rural road safety

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJanuary 14, 2019

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter has announced an extension of the Government‘s Safety Boost Programme to prevent deaths and serious injuries on rural New Zealand roads.

The NZ Transport Agency will be investing $20 million to upgrade 670 kilometres of rural state highways across Gisborne and Hawke‘s Bay, Manawatu-Wanganui and the West Coast this year.

“The Boost Programme will target 11 rural state highways that might not have high levels of traffic but still have plenty of risks like sharp corners and narrow stretches,” said Genter.

The programme includes simple safety upgrades that can be installed quickly over the summer period, such as rumble strips, roadside safety barriers in high-risk locations, shoulder widening, and improved signage.

“All drivers make mistakes from time to time. Safety improvements like these stop simple mistakes turning into tragedies,” said Genter. “Rumble strips can reduce fatal run-off-road crashes by up to 42 percent. Shoulder widening at high-risk sites can reduce serious crashes by up to 35 percent.”

The five Manawatu-Wanganui roads being targeted are SH56: Makerua (SH57) to Palmerston North; SH57: SH3 to SH56; SH3: Palmerston North to Ashhurst; SH4: Wanganui to Raetihi, and SH54: SH3 to Feilding.

The two West Coast roads are SH6 and SH67: Murchison to Westport, and SH7: Hanmer Springs to Reefton.

The four Gisborne and Hawke‘s Bay roads are SH2: Wairoa to Gisborne; SH35: Gisborne to Tolaga Bay; SH2: Gisborne to Matawai, and SH5: SH2 to Te Haroto.

Genter said the original Safety Boost Programme made improvements like these in Northland, Taranaki, Manawatu-Wanganui, Otago and Southland, delivering almost 2000kms of rumble strips, 30km of road safety barriers in higher risk areas, and intersection speed zones at high-risk rural intersections.

This summer‘s Safety Boost is part of the $1.4 billion Safe Network Programme (SNP), a collaborative, prioritised programme of proven safety improvements on high-risk routes across New Zealand. The 670 kilometres of road upgrades in the Boost Programme is additional to the 870 kilometres of upgrades to high volume, high-risk state highways in the SNP.