A stretch of State Highway 2 (SH2) north of Tauranga is set to get a $1.8 million upgrade that will increase the chances of people walking away from a crash without serious injury.
A section of highway between Wainui South Road and Sargent Drive will be repaired and widened, and a wire rope central median barrier installed to prevent head on crashes.
The NZ Transport Agency says work starts this month and is expected to wrap up in early May.
The Transport Agency’s Bay of Plenty highway manager, Niclas Johansson says the project is a big job and will be carried out in three stages.
“We’re working hard to minimise the impact as much as possible and only minor delays to people’s journeys are expected,” he says.
“However, there will be significant changes to the road over the next five months including lane closures, speed restrictions and occasional stop/go traffic management so we are asking people to drive with care when travelling through the work site.”
Mr Johansson says the Transport Agency is committed to improving safety for everyone that uses SH2 north of Tauranga.
“Data shows that many of the crashes on this stretch of road have been caused by distracted drivers, with head on crashes and run off road crashes the most common cause of death and serious injury,” he says.
“Over the past year the Transport Agency, on behalf of the Government, invested approximately $5 million into safety improvements designed to prevent these types of crashes on SH2.
Installing engineering solutions such as the wire rope barriers and wide centre lines which help to create a more forgiving road can help stop a simple mistake becoming a fatal head on collision.”
Mr Johansson says the Transport Agency expects to be able to announce the long term plans for the road and when further changes will be made in the coming months.
“The route is one of the most complex stretches of state highway in the country and any long term fixes will involve property purchase, and that takes some time,” he says.
“We also have to take into account the competing and growing demands on this road, from local people making trips to and from town, agricultural vehicle, local freight vehicles, tourists and other road users.
“It is vital we strike the right balance between safety and efficiency for people’s journeys.”