Two variable speed projects and a new permanent detour route to improve journeys across the regions.
High-tech, weather-activated speed signs are being installed on State Highway 29 (SH29) over the Kaimai Range as part of an innovative trial set to start this year.
Twenty-two variable speed signs are being installed over a 12km stretch of SH29 between the junction on the Waikato side, and Soldiers Road on the Tauranga side.
The signs, along with four web cameras, will be linked to a weather station at the summit of the Kaimai Range. When adverse weather hits, the posted speed will be reduced based on the conditions. The signs are expected to be in place by mid-October and, after the technology is tested will be live in November.
The two year trial aims to encourage people to drive at safe speeds when rain, ice and fog hit the Kaimai Range. Over 70 percent of the crashes on the Kaimai Range happen in wet weather, and over 40 per cent of these were caused by drivers travelling too fast for the conditions.
A second initiative at a high risk rural intersection east of Hamilton will see two electronic warning signs on a local road showing display a 70km/h posted speed limit when a vehicle approaches on the highway to reduce the risk of side impact crashes.
From next month vehicles travelling on Holland Road towards the intersection with SH1B will see the 70km/h speed limit signs activated when a vehicle is approaching the intersection on SH1B. The posted speed will drop from 100km/h on the open Holland Road, plus draw attention to the need for motorists to take greater care because of turning traffic with other vehicles around.
The electronic signs have been operating at this intersection since last year with a “Slow Down” message, but a recent bylaw change by Waikato District Council now allows the variable 70km/h speed limit to be used on their road.
The electronic warning signs are a first for the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, and are also being trialled at other high risk rural intersections around the country.
In the third initiative, a permanent solution to reducing delays if a crash occurs on State Highway 2 north of Tauranga has been rolled out by the Transport Agency and Western Bay of Plenty District Council.
New permanent detour signs directing traffic off SH2 have been installed to help guide drivers when a detour is in place the highway between Pahoia and Whakamarama.
The local detour route via Esdaile, Youngson and Barrett Roads is the second official permanent detour in the Bay of Plenty, and follows the SH29 permanent detour route via Poripori, Crawford and Wairoa Roads put in place last year.
The new route allows emergency services and the Transport Agency to detour traffic off this busy highway in the event of a serious incident, and can be enabled quickly, reducing traffic delays and making more reliable journeys for travellers.