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New signs to improve safety at Wairarapa intersection

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Electronic warning signs are about to go live at the intersection of East Taratahi and Wiltons Roads with State Highway 2 between Carterton and Masterton.

Known as Rural Intersection Activated Warning Signs (RIAWS), the signs are designed to reduce the severity of crashes at high-risk rural intersections by reducing the speed on the main road, says the NZ Transport Agency Regional Performance Manager Mark Owen.

“The greatest proportion of intersection crashes within high-speed environments are crossing or turning crashes between two vehicles. We know that the risk of serious injury or death from side impact crashes increases significantly above 50km/h, so getting motorists to slow down when there is another vehicle approaching this intersection should help prevent crashes,” Mr Owen says.

The signs have been successfully used in other parts of the country, including Kaiapoi and at Himatangi, north of Foxton.

The sign will activate if a vehicle is waiting at or approaching the intersection from the side road. The warning sign will then flash and illuminate, reducing the speed for vehicles on State Highway 2 to from 100 km/h to 70km/h.

The new 70km/h variable speed limit is legally enforceable. If there are no vehicles waiting or approaching on the side roads, then the open road speed limit of 100km/h won’t change.

The signs should be fully operational in middle of June.

“This intersection has a history of crashes, and while there have been no recent fatalities, installing this new system should help improve safety for all road users,” says Mr Owen.

More information about RIAWS is available on the NZ Transport Agency’s website www.nzta.govt.nz/assets/network/operating/safely/doc/riaws-info-sheet.pdf(external link).

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