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Life in the slow lane

NZTA has identified locations for crossings on State Highways 2 and 53. PHOTOS/TOM TAYLOR

Delays coming with construction of 21 raised crossings in Wairarapa

EMILY IRELAND
[email protected]

Twenty-one raised pedestrian crossings will be built on Wairarapa’s state highway network.

Construction on the first three crossings – at Jackson St in Masterton, Walnut Lane in Carterton, and Daniell St in Featherston – begins next week.

Work is expected to take up to four weeks, pending any weather delays.

All 21 are set to be completed in 2024.

New Zealand Transport Agency’s regional manager of maintenance and operations Mark Owen said increasing pedestrian safety in Wairarapa was a key focus of the project.

“State Highway 2 between Masterton and Featherston is a busy stretch of road, with lots of different people using it, including many pedestrians in the towns along the highway.

“We have identified 21 locations for raised pedestrian crossings along State Highways 2 and 53, which will significantly improve safety for pedestrians.”

International research shows that raised pedestrian crossings reduce deaths and serious injuries by about 40 per cent.

There is only one raised pedestrian crossing on the state highway network in Wairarapa – outside the Carterton Medical Centre at the southern end of town.

Community feedback was supportive of raised pedestrian crossings in Masterton, Carterton, Greytown and Featherston.

“The crossings are the first part of a comprehensive safety programme in Wairarapa between Masterton and Featherston, which also includes proposed roundabouts and barriers, and a review of the speed limits.

“Each of these safety interventions will work together to improve the safety for everyone who uses State Highway 2, whether they be pedestrians, cyclists or motorists.”

Construction on the first three raised pedestrian crossings is scheduled to begin next Thursday and will involve a series of day and night works in Carterton, Masterton, and Featherston.

Owen said NZTA had tried to minimise the impact on residents and road users by breaking the construction into day and night works.

“We’re very aware of the importance of State Highway 2 to residents and businesses in the region, as well as those travelling through from other parts of the lower North Island,” Owen said.

“Work at the side of the road on the paths and crossing surrounds can be safely done during the day, with lanes on the road altered to allow room for the works while still letting motorists and cyclists travel in both directions.

“Construction work across the road itself will take place at night under stop-go traffic control.

“Doing this work at night when traffic is light will minimise traffic delays and disruption to people’s daytime activities.”

Access for pedestrians along the footpaths and the pedestrian crossings will be safely maintained with work areas fenced off and with traffic supervisors assisting as necessary.

“For the safety of our workers, traffic management will be in place to ensure vehicles move slowly through the worksites.

“If we have weather delays, we will postpone the works until the next available fine day.”

There was mixed feedback on raised pedestrian crossings in the SH2 review.

Some people submitted that raised crossings would be a good idea because it forced cars to slow down.

Others felt raised crossings were unnecessary on the network.

Overall, the community feedback was supportive of raised pedestrian crossings in Masterton, Carterton, Greytown and Featherston.

In the next three years, detailed designs will be completed for each site.

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