The crossing will be situated opposite the Carterton Medical Centre, at the southern end of the central shopping area, south of Victoria and Wakelin Streets on High Street, State Highway 2.
The decision to build a formal pedestrian crossing follows community requests for better access to the medical facility and a NZ Transport Agency review of pedestrian and traffic movements in the area.
“The project is all about improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists, while maintaining freight and traffic flow efficiency on State Highway 2,” says Regional Performance Manager, Mark Owen. “This project will make it easier and safer for people to walk across this busy section of highway. It will be safer for children to walk to school, and older people will have the time they need to cross the road.”
Construction of the crossing is due to start soon, following consultation with the local community, commercial truck representative groups, the Carterton District Council, Police and local Automobile Association representatives.
Carterton District Council Chief Executive Jane Davis, says the council needed to act on the feedback. “When approached by the community, the council responded swiftly, understanding the need to provide a safer area for residents to cross. The safety of our Carterton community is at the forefront of the council’s thinking. NZTA has been great to deal with to make the changes asked for, a reality.”
The new crossing features a raised platform across the entire width of the road, similar to the crossings in and around the Martinborough Square. While raised platform crossings are common across the country, this will be the first crossing of this type in the Wairarapa, adapted for busy highway traffic.
The challenge with the Carterton crossing is that it is on State Highway 2, which has a large number of vehicles, being a critical transport route for freight.
The ramp and crossing has been designed by specialist engineers and road surface experts to withstand the very heavy loads that will travel over it each day.
At approximately 75mm in height the crossing with a 1 in 20 (1:20) gradient ramps on either side for vehicles. The height maximises drivers’ visibility of the crossing to improve pedestrian safety, while minimising the impact on heavy vehicles travelling over the crossing.
Road Transport Association Area Executive Sandy Walker says “RTANZ consulted with its members who are happy to support this initiative and hope pedestrians use it for the purpose it is intended rather than have people dart out from between vehicles unannounced and will monitor its use going forward.
The new crossing will include warning signage in advance to alert drivers that there is a crossing ahead and new lighting will be installed for night time use. There will also be raised tactile footpath studs on the footpath at either the end of the crossing, for the visually impaired.
Work will start by the end of June and is expected to take about a week to complete, subject to weather. Motorists are advised to expect short delays during the work.
Every effort will be made to keep disruption to motorists, pedestrians and cyclists to a minimum. “We appreciate people’s patience and understanding while we complete a job that will have considerable safety benefits once it is finished,” says Mr Owen. “We thank the community for their support to improve road safety in Carterton.”