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The project

What's the problem with this stretch of road?

State Highway 16 (SH16) between Brigham Creek and Waimauku needs to be made safer. Between 2010 and July 2019three people were killed and 29 people were seriously injured on this stretch of road. Almost half of these crashes were caused by drivers losing control and running off the road or crossing the centreline and hitting an oncoming vehicle.

This makes it one of the highest-risk rural roads in the country.

What are you doing to make it safer?

We’re adding safety improvements to SH16.

We’re putting in flexible road safety barriers along SH16, except between Taupaki and Kumeu. Between Taupaki and Kumeu we’re putting in a safe area in the middle of the road (known as a flush median) to provide more room and a safe place to turn, while keeping traffic flowing.

Between Brigham Creek and Taupaki roundabout we’re adding extra lanes, so there will be a total of four lanes (two in each direction). We’re improving the intersection at SH16/Coatesville-Riverhead Highway to make it safer for all users. We are constructing a shared path for walking and cycling between Brigham Creek and Kumeu to increase transport choice.

Between Huapai and Waimauku we are widening the narrow bridges and making it safer to turn and use the intersections at Foster, Station and Factory Roads.

Where we can, we’ll put in flexible roadside safety barriers to protect vehicles where there are dangers on the roadside like power poles, trees and deep ditches. We’ll also add a sealed road shoulder that will be a minimum of two metres wide for people who cycle.

Why are you making these safety improvements?

Too many people are dying or being seriously injured along SH16 and we know that the safety treatments we are putting in are proven to help save lives.

What safety improvements will be used along SH16 between Brigham Creek and Waimauku?

Safety improvement Description
Flexible road safety barriers in high-risk areas
  • We use flexible road safety barriers down the middle of a road to prevent head-on collisions or along the edge of the road to stop run-off-road crashes.
  • Flexible road safety barriers catch vehicles that leave their lane before they hit something less forgiving like other vehicles or trees, poles and deep ditches on the side of the road.
  • If you hit a flexible barrier, the steel cables flex, slowing down your vehicle and keeping it upright. They absorb the impact so you, and the people with you, don’t. They also prevent you from being deflected to the other side of the road, so you don’t ‘bounce’ off them, potentially into an on-coming vehicle.
  • Flexible road safety barriers are a good fit for our roads. They’re narrow and work best on long, straight sections and gentle curves. More importantly though, they’re the safest barrier if someone does hit them.
  • When fitted along the side and centre of the road, they reduce the number of overall Deaths and Serious Injuries (DSIs) by 65 percent.*
Flush medians
  • Flush medians, which are a safe area in the middle of the road, provide more room and a safe place to wait before you turn, while keeping traffic flowing.
  • Separating the traffic this way has been proven to reduce DSIs by up to 35 percent.*
Road shoulder widening
  • A wide road shoulder provides space for cyclists, gives drivers more room to recover if they lose control and a safe place to stop in an emergency.
  • This can reduce DSIs by up to 10 percent.*
Safer speeds
  • Making sure people drive at the right speeds for the road is another way to reduce the risk on our roads.
  • At a higher speed, there is less time for you to react to a mistake and recover. And, if you do crash, the risk of being killed or seriously injured is much higher.
  • In 2014, speed was a contributing factor in 78 fatal crashes, 357 serious injury crashes and 995 minor injury crashes.
Roundabouts
  • Roundabouts control the approach and circulating speeds at intersections, creating a safer traffic environment.

* Standard Safety Intervention Toolkit, published February 2019, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Version 1.

Which intersections are you making safer?

We are making three intersections safer. We are improving things like lighting, sight lines (how far you can see so you can make a safe decision to turn), left turn lanes and some shoulder widening if this is needed at these intersections:

  • Foster Road intersection – right turn bay and turnaround areas.
  • Matua Road intersection – stopping right turns (left in/left out only) and improving sight lines for people turning left.
  • Coatesville-Riverhead intersection – investigating options to make the intersection safer for all users.

What are you doing between Taupaki and Kumeu where people are parking on the side of the road and making it dangerous?

We want to ensure there is enough room on the shoulder for drivers to be able to safely pull over in an emergency or if they break down. Parking is not encouraged on the state highway, so we are working with the local businesses to find other areas where motorists can park safely.

What is happening at Access, Tapu and Station Roads?

Upgrades at these intersections are being planned as part of the Huapai Triangle Special Housing Area by Auckland Transport and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

Speed

What are you doing about speed along SH16?

Through our public consultation we heard many of you are concerned about motorists’ high speeds in the area.

As part of our speed review programme we are reducing speeds in between Kumeu and Waimauku. From 7 September 2020 the following speeds were introduced:

SH16 Brigham Creek to Waimauku

Existing speed limit

New permanent speed limit

SH16 Kumeu and Huapai townships

From 50m south-east of Old Railway Road to 10m north-west of Station Road

60km/h

50km/h

SH16 Huapai to Waimauku

From 260m north-west of Trigg Road to 140m east of Wintour Road

100km/h

80km/h

SH16 Waimauku township

From 140m east of Wintour Road to 95m east of Mabbett Lane

70km/h

60km/h

Find out more about the project

Congestion

How will these improvements help with congestion?

This project will help to address some of the existing congestion issues associated with growth by:

  • adding extra lanes between Brigham Creek Road and Taupaki
  • improving the SH16/Coatesville-Riverhead highway intersection so traffic can flow better
  • putting in a flush median between the Taupaki roundabout and Kumeu so turning traffic can safely wait while allowing traffic to flow
  • building a shared path between Kumeu and Brigham Creek so people have alternative options on how they travel.

Why don’t you make it four lanes all the way to Kumeu?

The focus of this work is to improve safety in the short term, ahead of other long-term projects that will need a lot more time for the consenting and planning processes. This project is the first part of a bigger package of work aimed at addressing growth and congestion in Auckland’s North-West.

Investigations have indicated an alternative route may more effectively address the capacity issues for Kumeu-Huapai than four laning SH16.

When will you build the long-term projects?

Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency are working together to investigate options to address future growth in Auckland. These plans are for the next 30 years and include the North West.

Any future projects, such as an alternative route to SH16 and a new public transport network, need significant planning and consenting to be finished before any work can start.

Why don’t you put in a left turn slip lane at the new Coatesville-Riverhead Highway roundabout, for those coming from Coatesville and Riverhead?

A dedicated left turn slip lane on the Coatesville-Riverhead Highway approach to the roundabout was looked in to during the early stages of the project. In order to incorporate a slip lane, the proposed roundabout footprint would have to be made larger to allow for vehicles to safely merge and provide adequate sight distance. An extensive amount of property would also be needed. In addition, slip lanes encourage higher speeds which in turn would make it unsafe for pedestrians who are wanting to cross at the roundabout.

How will a roundabout help Coatesville-Riverhead people get out in the morning peak, when they will be needing to give way to the constant stream of traffic coming from Kumeu?

Our traffic team have undertaken modelling of the proposed roundabout to understand its performance. The modelling is a way to predict how the roundabout will function after it is built. The model findings showed the vehicle delays and queues, on all legs of the roundabout, would be acceptable. The approaches to the roundabout will be designed so drivers have to slow down, which in turn creates gaps in the flow of traffic, allowing other vehicles opportunities to enter the roundabout from adjacent approaches. Unlike the current intersection, there is no incentive for traffic coming from Kumeu to slow down or create safe gaps for those turning from the side road.

Construction

How will this work get done?

We’ve split the project into two stages. Stage one runs from Huapai to Waimauku and stage two is between the Brigham Creek roundabout to Kumeu.

What section are you doing first?

We’ve started on the section between Huapai and Waimauku where there are slightly less complexities and where half of the crashes were head-on. Work will start on this section while we confirm aspects of the design for stage two.

The contract for stage one is expected to be awarded in late-2020. We were due to commence enabling work in April 2020, beginning with relocating a gas main at Berry’s Bridge. However, with the announcement on COVID-19 this work was delayed. We completed the enabling works in August 2020 instead. Stage one will be constructed over two construction seasons – finishing early 2023.

Why is it taking so long?

It’s important we make the improvements that are right for the road, and that work for the people who use it and live along it, while still keeping traffic moving and minimising delays. This is a complicated stretch of road with increasing numbers of vehicles and other large-scale projects.

Who will be doing the work?

We are going through a competitive tendering process to find a contractor to build the safety improvements.

Property

How much land do you need to purchase?

We’ll plan our improvements so that we avoid the need to buy land where possible.

Stage one does require strip acquisition, where we purchase small strips of land to allow us to widen the corridor to implement the improvements. We are working with directly impacted land owners through this process.

For Stage two we may need some land. We’ll have details once our design work is finished.

How will I know if my land is affected?

Someone from our team will contact every landowner whose property may be affected. This includes both landowners whose land might be needed for the project and landowners whose driveway access might be affected during construction.

We’ll also send out information to everyone along the road so that people know what’s happening and have the chance to talk with our team.

Where can I get more information if my land is affected?

We’ll talk to people whose land is affected about the process and their options once we’ve confirmed whether any of their land is needed. But if you do want to find out more, you can find information on the Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) website.

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)(external link)

What happens if we have services located in the area of road works? Who will pay for the relocation of this?

You don’t need to worry about utilities like water pipes and power cables that the council or power company has put in within the road boundaries. If you have a utility that you’ve had put in yourself, then we might need to talk to you.

Barriers

Pulling off the road when there is a barrier

Will drivers still be able to pull over?

While we don’t encourage people to pull over on a state highway there will still be gaps in the barrier, especially around driveways, if you do need to pull over completely in an emergency.

Where side barriers are put in this will mean there are some places where you can’t pull completely off the road.

Overall, the sealed road shoulder will be wider than it was before so you will have more space to recover if you make a mistake or need to pull over in an emergency.

Where can I pull over if there’s a barrier on the road?

Cars will usually be able to pull onto the shoulder beside the safety barrier. Road safety barriers may prevent some wide vehicles from pulling off completely so there are regular gaps in the side barriers, usually every 400-500m where possible, as well as at intersections and driveways.

Vehicles wanting to pass slower traffic will need to wait until the slower vehicle can pull over into a gap in the side barrier. While this may require some patience and understanding, it makes the road safer for everyone.

With barriers, the road space is clearly defined so agricultural or large vehicles won’t be weaving on and off the shoulder.

Barriers and agricultural vehicles

Will agricultural vehicles still be able to use the road?

The widened road shoulder and the widened centreline will mean there’s room for agricultural vehicles. We’ll also be leaving some gaps in the barrier, at turnarounds and intersections, so that people driving large or wide vehicles can use the gaps to pull off the road completely.

Do road safety barriers prevent large agricultural vehicles from pulling over?

When wide agricultural vehicles need to make a right-hand turn, they can still pull off to the left side of the road and turn right when it is safe to do so.

How will people pass wide slow-moving agricultural vehicles when side and median barriers are installed?

For most of the route the wide shoulder will provide enough room for most agricultural and large vehicles to pull over.

Barriers and emergency services

How will emergency services get to people in an accident if barriers are installed?

There will be no changes to emergency procedures when side barriers are installed. If there is an accident blocking a lane, and cars are trapped in the lane between the flexible road safety barriers and the accident, the barrier can be released and dropped, in 60m sections, creating a bypass. Wide driveway accesses along the route will allow trucks to move further off the lane and will provide extra space for emergency services to pass. Emergency vehicles can also use the opposite side of the carriageway to pass queued vehicles and access the incident.

Barriers and buses

Where will buses stop once barriers are installed?

There will be gaps left in side barriers at designated bus stops. School buses will also be able to pull over safely at driveways to allow passengers on and off the bus.

Barriers and cyclists

Will cyclists still be able to ride on the road?

We’re making this road safer for everyone and this includes people riding bikes. Wherever we put in a side barrier we’ll make sure there’s space between it and the road for cyclists.

Barriers and motorcyclists

What happens if a motorcyclist hits the barriers?

Motorcyclists don’t have the same protection in a crash as the occupants of vehicles, and special consideration needs to be given for how to keep them safe. Roadside and median flexible safety barriers are highly effective in preventing deaths and injuries for all road users including motorcyclists. The Safe System approach to road safety holds 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 motorcyclists when they or other road users make mistakes.

Motorcyclists have been opposed to flexible road safety barriers because they think the steel ropes will act like a ‘cheese cutter’ when hit by a rider. However, studies have shown this assumption is not correct. Motorcyclists are more likely to survive an impact with a flexible road safety barrier than an impact with trees, poles or oncoming vehicles which the barrier will prevent them striking in a crash.

The University of New South Wales has undertaken an in-depth analysis of motorcycle impacts into roadside barriers in both New Zealand and Australia. The data shows that barriers of any kind contributed to a very small percentage of motorcycle fatalities. A study of the New Zealand motorcycle-barrier crash data from January 2001 to July 2013 shows of 20 motorcycle fatalities sustained as a result of riders hitting a roadside or median barrier, just three involved flexible safety (wire rope) barriers, while 13 involved traditional steel ‘W’ beam barriers and four other barrier types. Over the same time period there were 97 motorcyclist fatalities from collisions with posts or poles, 70 from hitting traffic signs and 93 from crashing into unprotected trees.

Why we use flexible road safety barriers
Flexible road safety barriers information flyer [PDF, 438 KB]

Walking and cycling

How will it be safer for people who walk or bike?

Between Huapai and Waimauku the safety improvements along this stretch of road include wider road shoulders. They are wider than the minimum standard to make it safer for people who walk or bike.

Between Brigham Creek and Kumeu there will be a shared path. This was consulted on with the community in 2018 and received wide support.

Read a summary of the feedback [PDF, 158 KB]

The roundabout will be designed to provide safe walking and cycling paths to circulate the roundabout, clear of traffic, and have designated safe crossing points through the islands.

The project team is also working to ensure safety improvements are designed to accommodate any future plans that support walking and cycling.

Where can people cross the road safely?

We are installing a pedestrian refuge island between Wintour Road and Foster Road to allow people to safely cross and access the bus stop. There will also be a new concrete footpath on the northern side of SH16 between the bus stop and crossing, and on the southern side following around the southwest corner of Wintour Road.

We understand there is interest in pedestrian crossings at Soljans bus stop and at the Coatesville-Riverhead Highway intersection. These locations will be reviewed as well as other locations to see where the best places are for new crossing points. These are likely to be pedestrian refuge areas - safe places to wait and cross.

What side of the road will the shared path between Brigham Creek and Kumeu be?

The shared path will be on the southern side of SH16. This side allows for better and safer access into connecting facilities. This side also had less safety issues for people to navigate e.g. driveways and intersections.

Shared path map [PDF, 1.6 MB]

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