Driving on State Highway 1 through the Dome Valley is about to become much safer with the installation of another 2.2kms of flexible wire rope barriers to prevent head-on crashes.
It follows the installation of an 800-metre wire rope barrier at the Warkworth end of the safety improvements project just before Christmas.
The Dome Valley improvements are part of Waka Kotahi’s commitment to help deliver Road to Zero, the government’s road safety strategy for 2020-2030, which aims to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 40 percent over the next 10 years.
The new barrier will be installed in the road centre line south of Wayby Valley Road, from 70m south of Hoteo River Bridge to 100m north of Waitaraire Bridge.
“The barrier will make a real and immediate safety difference for the travelling public in a high crash area. This is a busy winding state highway and the barrier, along with other safety improvements, will keep traffic separated and safe,” says Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency National Manager Infrastructure Delivery, Andrew Thackwray.
Median barriers prevent head on crashes, which is how most people are killed or seriously injured on our roads. They can reduce deaths and serious injuries by 70-80%.
When a vehicle hits a wire rope barrier the high-tension wire cables flex, slowing down the vehicle and redirecting it back into the middle of the road to prevent collisions with roadside hazards or oncoming vehicles. The flexibility in the wire rope also means the barrier absorbs impact energy, reducing the force on the people in the vehicles, resulting in less severe injuries than other safety barrier systems.
Installation of the barrier will start on Thursday, 4 March during the day. There will be a 30km/h temporary speed limit and road cones marking lanes to create a safe work environment in the road centre.
The work will resume Sunday to Thursday and take about two weeks, with the hours of work subject to COVID-19 Alert Levels and weather.
There’s also daytime stop/go traffic management at two project sites either side of the Dome Valley summit this week as crews work on reinforcing roadside embankments.
Their switch from night shifts to working during the day takes advantage of reduced traffic flows under current COVID-19 Alert Levels. Daytime shifts improve worker safety, increase productivity and will help achieve earlier project completion on this busy, crash-prone section of state highway.
“Motorists are advised to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journeys through the Dome Valley. Check the Waka Kotahi Journey Planner website(external link) for latest road works information. While the stop/gos are operating, our crews will monitor queues to minimise wait times as much as possible,” says Andrew Thackwray.
As well as the median safety barriers, other safety improvements in the Dome Valley include widening the existing road, additional roadside barriers to “catch” vehicles running off the road, embankment reshaping and construction of right hand turn bays.
The project is split into five stages along the 15km section of SH1 from Wellsford to north of Warkworth. This latest section of wire rope barrier will complete Stage 4. Stage 2 was finished before Christmas. All sections are expected to be completed in late 2021.
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