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Safety upgrade coming for SH74 Marshlands to Burwood, northern Christchurch

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A high-risk stretch of highway in Christchurch is set to get a $2.5 million upgrade that will help stop people dying or being seriously injured in crashes and make it safer for students to walk and bike to school.

In the 10 years from 2007 to 2016, one person died and 14 were seriously injured on State Highway 74 (QEII Drive) between Innes Road and Burwood. 

NZ Transport Agency contractors will soon start work on the upgrade, which will see safety barriers installed down the middle and on the sides of the highway. New road markings that are easier to see when it’s dark and in the wet will also be put in place.

The project is part of the Government’s $1.4 billion Safe Network Programme, a collaborative initiative that aims to save up to 160 deaths and serious injuries every year across New Zealand’s highest risk state highways and local roads.

Transport Agency System Manager Pete Connors says the safety barriers will make a real difference on the high-risk highway, as many of the crashes in recent years have been head-on or run-off road.

“Flexible road safety barriers ‘catch’ vehicles that leave their lane before they hit something less forgiving – like other vehicles or roadside hazards such as trees, poles and ditches,” Mr Connors says.
Shows no centreline safety barrier on QEII Drive, Christchurch

QEII Drive, Christchurch, no centreline safety barrier

 “When a vehicle hits a barrier, the high-tension wire cables flex, slowing down the vehicle and keeping it upright during and after a collision. The barrier absorbs the impact, reducing the force on the people in the vehicle.

“People will always make mistakes, but these changes to the road will help ensure simple mistakes don't cost lives.”

Mr Connors says the side barriers will also protect people who use the nearby shared path to walk and bike to school or work.

“New residential developments nearby and the new Avonside Girls' High and Shirley Boys’ High campus opening in April, 2019 mean this road and the shared path will only get busier, so it’s important we make these improvements now, so everyone can enjoy safer journeys.”

The contractor, Higgins, is beginning preliminary works, locating services and carrying out other work in preparation for the safety barriers to be put in place in the New Year.

Speed restrictions and other traffic management will be in place at times during the work, which is expected to be finished in mid-2019.

More information is available at  www.nzta.govt.nz/sh74-marshland-to-burwood(external link) 

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