The NZ Transport Agency’s announcement of a speed review west of Christchurch on State Highway 73 in West Melton has been welcomed by residents concerned about safety in the growing township.
Tim Schurr, Chair of the West Melton Residents Association, says he is pleased to hear that the speed review is getting underway. “This is something the Residents Association has wanted to see happen for some time. We fully support a reduction in the speed limits as an important step towards improving road safety in West Melton.”
The proposed lower speed limit is needed to reflect the increase in residential and commercial development in the area, says Jim Harland, Director of Regional Relationships for the Transport Agency, announcing the speed review.
“The increased pedestrian, cycling and vehicle movements across and along the highway mean that the current speed limit is not appropriate,” he says.
“Residents, the Selwyn District Council and Community Board as well as the West Melton Residents Association have all expressed their concern to us about the current speed being unsafe. They have been pushing for a speed review for some time.”
As well as undertaking this speed review, other safety initiatives in the area are being further investigated by the Transport Agency. These include installing more flush medians (wide painted lines in the centre of the road, keeping opposing traffic lanes apart), wider edge lines and making the threshold where the speed limits change at the entrance to the township more obvious to road users.
Mr Harland says that the Transport Agency is aware of the community’s concerns with the intersection with State Highway 73 and Weedons Ross Road.
“While we have proposed a project to investigate this, demand is very high for projects like this one around the country and this intersection project is yet to reach the priority requirements for funding. We have recently announced funding of two other intersection safety improvements in Selwyn: Shands Road/Blakes Road and Springs Road/Marshs Road intersections. We are continuing to work with the Selwyn District Council to monitor this highway and Weedons Ross Road intersection and collect further evidence. In the meantime, decreasing the speed is one way we could improve safety in West Melton.”
Reviewing speeds is part of the Transport Agency’s Safe Network Programme, which will deliver proven safety interventions on high risk routes across New Zealand. This programme uses the Safe System approach, focusing on safe roads and roadsides, safe and appropriate speeds, and safe rail level crossings. More information is available on the Transport Agency’s website: nzta.govt.nz/safe-network-programme
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