Dozens of potentially serious crashes have been avoided since safety barriers were installed on State Highway 1 on the Brynderwyn Hills.
The NZ Transport Agency says flexible road safety barriers have been hit at least 20 times since installation started as part of the Brynderwyns Improvements Project on the north side of the Brynderwyns in August 2015.
“Each time the barrier has been damaged we know that’s a crash that has been avoided, and someone has either driven or walked away from that incident,” says Brett Gliddon the Transport Agency’s Northland Highway Manager.
The $18m Brynderwyns Improvements Project which is now complete, apart from some final landscaping and final road sealing, has improved safety by widening the current road and shoulders, removing tight corners and installing 14km of safety barriers along the edge of the road and the centre line to separate north and south bound traffic.
Head-on and run-off-the road crashes account for 75% of crashes on rural state highways.
“Flexible safety barriers are designed to stop traffic leaving the road or crossing the centre line and colliding with solid objects such as other vehicles, trees and poles. This helps creates a more forgiving road that can help stop simple mistakes becoming fatal crashes.”
Flexible road safety barriers 'catch' vehicles that leave the road. When a vehicle hits the wire rope safety barrier the cables flex, slowing the vehicle and pushing it back into its lane. This means the system absorbs impact.
“This is the best possible outcome for road users and proof that these barriers are highly effective in preventing deaths and injuries, we’re really pleased to see the benefits of these safety improvements already paying dividends.”
The wire rope barrier installation is part of the Safe System approach to road safety, that while mistakes are inevitable, deaths and serious injuries are not. The Transport Agency is investing in improved roads and roadsides that are increasingly safer for all road users when people make mistakes.
The Transport Agency says a final road surface through the construction area will be laid later in the year, to improve the road’s skid resistance and improve its waterproofing to ensure a resilient and long lasting road surface.