New speed signs coming for Otaihanga Roundabout

New signs designed to encourage truck drivers to reduce their speed as they approach the Otaihanga roundabout on State Highway 1, Kapiti Coast, are soon to be installed by the NZ Transport Agency.

The signs are designed to improve safety and reduce the risk of truck rollovers on the roundabout.

Mark Owen, Regional Performance Manager, NZ Transport Agency, says the design of the roundabout is consistent with others along this stretch of highway such as the Plimmerton roundabout.

'However, the Plimmerton roundabout is in an urban environment with a lower approach speed and a 50km/h speed limit, while the Otaihanga roundabout is in a higher speed 80kph environment. Some trucks are travelling faster on their approach to the Otaihanga roundabout than is safe, so we’re installing these signs to remind all drivers, including truck drivers, to slow down as they come up to the roundabout.'

Sandy Walker, Area Executive of the Road Transport Association for the Wellington and the Kapiti Coast region says that work with the NZ Transport Agency on behalf of heavy vehicle operators for these signs has been ongoing.

'The problem with the Otaihanga roundabout is that it is a three legged version, and not the usual four legged model with opposite entry and exit points, changing the curve alignment, which is why there is need for a reduction in speed. The new advisory signs should assist all drivers using the roundabout,' Mr Walker says.

Mr Owen says the roundabout has dramatically improved the safety at this busy intersection by virtually eliminating the risk of severe, high speed side-impact collisions.

Since the roundabout was opened in April 2014 there have been five truck roller overs and  one serious injury crash at the site.

'This is a busy intersection with nearly ten million vehicles a year traveling around it, but even one truck roll over is a concern. We have worked constructively with the freight industry to investigate the issue, and come up with a solution. The new signage will remind all motorists of the need to slow down and give way at the roundabout, irrespective of the speed limit.' 

'Once the new Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway opens, we also expect that  there will be fewer vehicles, both cars and trucks, heading around this roundabout. In the meantime, these new signs will help improve safety for everyone,' Mr Owen says.