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Another crash at Highway blackspot

By Don Farmer and Hayley Gastmeier

[email protected]

A call is being made for urgent attention to be given to re-designing a section of State Highway 2 just south of Masterton after yet another serious car crash at an intersection.

On Tuesday a south-bound car, driven by an Australian visitor, intending to leave the highway to enter Norfolk Rd turned into the path of a northbound car travelling at about 100kmh.

The resulting crash left three of four people in the vehicles injured.

Yesterday Carterton dairy farmer Neil Wadham, who is also a Wairarapa Automobile Association councillor, called on NZTA to re-design the entire length of highway from Ngaumutawa Rd to Norman Ave, and in the process build-in two roundabouts.

Mr Wadham, who has a dairy run-off on Cornwall Rd, said he had seen a vast number of narrow misses during his many years of having to cross the highway at the intersection.

“We have taken NZTA officials to the spot and they nod and seem to see our point but nothing is ever done.

“It’s a fatal crash waiting to happen,” he said.

Mr Wadham said the complete stretch of road needed to be looked at.

At the juncture of Ngaumutawa Rd with the highway heavily laden trucks have to try and push out onto the highway from the heavy vehicle by-pass of Masterton, but should instead have the benefit of a roundabout.

Apart from a road re-design Mr Wadham believed the state highway in that location should have electronic speed restrictions on it, similar to those used in parts of Wellington.

Carterton Mayor John Booth said where Tuesday’s crash happened was a “very dangerous intersection”.

“It’s very scary and there have been a lot of close-calls which have been mentioned to NZTA.

“They have talked about having a roundabout at Ngaumutawa Rd intersection but I believe the priority should be at the Norfolk Rd/Cornwall Rd intersection with the highway.

“We have been talking about this for two or three years now and nothing has been done,” he said.

Mr Booth said even the presence of a slip lane for traffic coming out of Norfolk Rd heading for Masterton did not work well.

“Many drivers just don’t know how to merge properly and I have seen some dumb things there in my time,’ he said.

Senior Sergeant Mike Sutton said the crash happened just after 8.30pm on Tuesday.

A 57-year-old Australian man and his wife had been travelling south on SH2.

“Their vehicle, turning right into Norfolk Rd, has collided with a car travelling north on SH2.”

Inside the northbound vehicle were two Masterton men, aged 17 and 18.

Three people were taken to Wairarapa Hospital by ambulance, with two patients suffering moderate injuries and the third suffering minor injuries.

Mr Sutton said the vehicles involved, both Toyota Corollas, had been “extensively damaged”.

Ross Campbell, of Sydney, was charged with careless driving causing injury, and appeared in the Masterton District Court yesterday, pleading guilty.

Mr Sutton said alcohol had not been a factor in the crash and it appeared neither driver had been exceeding the speed limit of 100kmh.

Wairarapa Road Safety Council manager Bruce Pauling said the majority of road fatalities involved vehicles turning at intersections on state highways.

“This is another reminder to check [for oncoming traffic] at least twice, three times, before turning in highspeed areas.”

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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