Safer railway level crossings for Bay of Plenty

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineOctober 14, 2020

The railway level crossing at Benner Road, Pukehina.

A fourth Eastern Bay of Plenty railway level crossing is set to receive safety upgrades aimed at saving lives, the NZ Transport Agency has announced.

The announcement was made as part of an event held at Pukehina Marae to celebrate upgrades at another three railway level crossings in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, and to thank local iwi, the community and other stakeholders for their support.

NZTA programme director Dave Van Staden says these railway level crossing upgrades are improving safety for everyone who uses them.

“On average five people die, five people are seriously injured, and there are 238 reported near-miss incidents at railway level crossings across New Zealand each year. By delivering a range of improvements to railway level crossing sites, we can improve the safety for road users and pedestrians using these crossings.”

The fourth site is alongside State Highway 2 at Benner Road, Pukehina. The planned improvements at this crossing include new flashing lights, bells, half-arm barriers, road widening and line marking, vegetation clearing, and new lighting. Work on this level crossing is expected to get under way later this year.

The other three level crossing upgrades are located alongside SH2 at Paengaroa, Pongakawa School Road, and Ohinepanea Road in Pukehina. Each site received a range of different improvements, such as new signs, barriers, lights and bells to warn drivers a train is approaching.

These improvements are part of the Safe Network Programme, delivering safety improvements on high-risk routes across New Zealand to make roads more forgiving of people‘s mistakes. The programme focuses on safe roads and roadsides, safe and appropriate speeds, and safe level crossings.

As part of the programme, NZTA and KiwiRail are working together to make railway level crossings on or near state highways around New Zealand safer.

A total of $26 million is being spent across New Zealand to make railway level crossings safer, using lower-cost safety improvements to prevent deaths and serious injuries, and targeting crossings on or near state highways.

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