High traffic volumes around the turnoff to Norfolk Rd on SH2 on Friday are a common scene. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV
A roundabout for the Norfolk Rd-State Highway 2 intersection has finally been given the green light by the New Zealand Transport Agency.
NZTA on Friday confirmed the roundabout was being designed, and also a series of roadside and median barriers would be erected from Waingawa to Clareville.
Speed limits across the entire region would also be investigated.
The announcement comes after years of crashes on Wairarapa’s busiest state highway, and countless petitions and calls for change, all lodged in support of a major road safety intervention by NZTA.
Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said she was “relieved” that safety improvements had been given priority.
“We have significant traffic volumes along this road and our council has been pushing to see changes made.”
While the road safety infrastructure projects have been seen as a step in the right direction, a speed review, being investigated by NZTA, has been the real focus of Wairarapa road safety campaigners for some time, and would allow for state highway speed limits to be altered across the region.
NZTA’s speed review process considers crash history, average vehicle speeds, and volume of vehicles, and involves consultation with council partners, iwi, communities, businesses and road users.
NZTA said that an announcement about the speed review in Wairarapa was “expected in the coming months”.
Carterton Mayor Greg Lang was in overall praise of the announcement, but said that he hoped a date was set in the “very near-future” for work to commence.
Wairarapa Road Safety Council manager Bruce Pauling echoed Lang’s comments.
“It’s really encouraging that the design work has been started, but there are no timeframes being given,” Pauling said.
“Surely, we could have been given some kind of timeframe – because we have expectations, and the community has expectations, and, quite frankly, they’ve become absolutely fed up.”
Pauling saw no reason why a speed review couldn’t commence immediately.
“As far as budgets go, it’s not huge – so why we haven’t seen that, and why it’s not being kick-started right now, I don’t know,” he said.
“Once a speed review is completed you can virtually get it signed off and put signs in the ground immediately.”