Despite a string of crashes on the same stretch of road – the latest of which involved a car demolishing the bedroom wall of a house – Masterton District Council [MDC] has responded to residents’ pleas for a safety barrier to be installed on the corner of Villa and Pownall streets by saying that engineering solutions may not be the answer.
Shortly after 8pm on Tuesday evening, a car crashed into the front bedroom of a Villa St house.
The residents of the house were reportedly uninjured, while the driver was taken to Wairarapa Hospital for treatment.
In response to queries from the Times-Age, MDC roading services manager Kaine Jaquiery said it is “important to recognise that addressing poor driver behaviour through engineering solutions alone may not be feasible, or the most appropriate solution”.
A range of measures to enhance road safety in the area have already been implemented by the council, he said, including “resealing the road surface to improve friction, installing reflectorised road markers on corners, clearly signposting an advisory speed limit of 35kmh, [and] providing large chevron signboards”.
The speed limit on Pownall St will also be reduced, to 40kmh, as part of the council’s Speed Management Plan, with the implementation of this change expected in 2024.
Wairarapa AA chairman Craig Bowyer said he is familiar with the corner of Villa and Pownall streets.
“It’s a wicked little corner; it sneaks up on you,” he said.
Bowyer believes a serious investigation into the incident on Tuesday night needs to be done, and “all options for preventing accidents on the corner need to be looked at”.
Bowyer said any barrier that might be put up would need to be substantial.
However, “if it just slows the car down and helps eliminate or reduce the likelihood of injury, harm, or even death, then all options need to be investigated,” he said.
Bowyer agreed that driver behaviour is also a key factor in any road crashes and that motorists need to be aware of the roads and their surroundings.
“If you’re travelling at the correct speed, these things virtually never happen,” Bowyer said.
“It’s quite lucky that nobody lost their life [on Tuesday].”