Twelve railway level crossings across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty are undergoing safety upgrades, as the NZ Transport Agency and KiwiRail work together to make level crossings safer for road users and pedestrians.
The Transport Agency’s Acting Director of Regional Relationships Ross I’Anson says the safety upgrades range from barrier arms, flashing lights and bells to road signs and markings, shoulder widening and improvements to crossing surfaces.
“On average five people die, five people are seriously injured, and there are 238 reported near-miss incidents at railway level crossings across New Zealand each year.
“Work has already been completed at four sites. Safety improvements at another four locations are underway in the coming months, with upgrades to all twelve locations expected to be completed by mid-2020,” Mr I’Anson says.
The upgrades include installation of half-arm barriers, road signs and markings, road shoulder widening and new street lighting at the SH2 Pongakawa School Road level crossing where two people were killed and another three injured earlier this year.
These improvements are part of the Safe Network Programme(external link), delivering safety improvements on high-risk routes across New Zealand to make roads more forgiving of people’s mistakes.
The programme focuses on safe roads and roadsides, safe and appropriate speeds, and safe level crossings.
KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer – Capital Projects & Asset Development, David Gordon says KiwiRail was pleased to be part of the upgrade programme.
“This investment through the Safe Network Programme is welcomed by KiwiRail, and the communities rail operates within. Close calls and collisions are highly distressing and impact the lives of everyone involved,” says Mr Gordon.
A total of $26 million is being spent across New Zealand to make crossings safer, using lower cost improvements to prevent deaths and serious injuries, and targeting crossings on or near state highways.
“Safety of pedestrians, motorists and our contractors is our primary concern. Please slow down and pay attention to your surroundings,” says Mr I’Anson.
The works were not typically expected to result in significant delays to traffic but we encourage motorists to plan ahead, allow more time for their journeys and to be patient when travelling through work sites.
The 12 Waikato and Bay of Plenty level crossings undergoing safety upgrades are:
Bay of Plenty