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SH2 speeds under review

Ngaumutawa Rd SH2 intersection. PHOTO/GRACE PRIOR

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Speed limits along State Highway 2 between Featherston and Masterton are likely to be reduced in some places. This is intended to make the highway safer.

A New Zealand Transport Agency document inviting road users to engage in the speed review states there has been a ‘high number of crashes on this section of SH2’. From January 2010 to December 2019 there were 488 crashes, four people killed, and 28 people seriously injured.

Previous feedback to NZTA has been about speed, the condition of the road surface, and the need for maintenance improvements.

The latter are outside the scope of NZTA engagement at this stage.

NZTA regional transport systems manager Mark Owen said the roading agency was focused on the speed review as the first phase of achieving road safety improvements.

“The speed people are going when in a crash makes a big difference to the amount of damage done,” Owen said.

“The road is a main highway which has become a lot busier over the last five years, so we are putting in a funding proposal for this first phase of work to make it safer sooner.”

NZTA was also looking at closing some intersections, reviewing passing lanes, and considering making some intersections only left-in or left-out or upgraded.

These matters were up for discussion at the engagement sessions being held this week in the four towns that straddle the highway.

Owen said the agency was looking to put in more rumble strips and roadside barriers and median barriers in some places.

“To buy land and widen the road is a massive and expensive task, but, at least to start with, people can be more aware of where they need to slow down and can hear if they are heading into the road edge with more rumble strips going in,” Owen said.

The 40km stretch of road is slow in many places as trucks clog it up and people manoeuvre in and out of car parks. But Owen said bypassing the small towns was not a solution at this stage and would require a great deal of consultation with businesses.

Roadworks planned so far include developing two major roundabouts, one at the Ngaumutawa Rd/SH2 intersection and another at the Norfolk Rd intersection.

Some safety ideas NZTA has put forward include putting in a ‘zip road’ for traffic turning north out of East Taratahi Rd and more speed reduction lights at intersections that come out on to a 100kmh zone.

Owen expected NZTA would make the consultation document on the road speed proposals public in February or March 2021.

Engagement drop-in sessions:

Today, November 6, Greytown Library noon-4pm.

Saturday, November 7, Carterton Events Centre 11am-3pm.

Sunday, November 8, Solway Primary School, Masterton 11am-4pm.

  • The NZTA online interactive map is at: www.nzta.govt.nz/sh2-wairarapa.

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