Solway School principal Mark Bridges at the Ngaumutawa Rd and SH2 intersection managed by give way signs and turning bays. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN

‘These intersections are dangerous’

KAREN COLTMAN
karen.coltman@age.co.nz

Solway School principal Mark Bridges wants traffic lights or a tunnel at the intersection of Ngaumutawa Rd and State Highway 2 to make it safer for his pupils.

Bridges is militant about road safety outside his school and is increasingly concerned about the unsafe intersection.

Last year, police caught 238 out of 1064 vehicles speeding past the school within three hours.

“The roads are busier and busier, particularly on a Friday,” Bridges said.

“Traffic lights or a tunnel would be a good way to get children across the road, and the lights would sort out the backlog of vehicles.”

Traffic is frequently backed up to the railway lines from the intersection.

A police officer got out of their car to direct traffic on to the highway last week.

“It really is out of hand and with the new housing developments down Solway Crescent and our roll growing – the issue is urgent.

“Children can’t cross the road there and parents dropping kids to school are getting stuck in traffic.”

He said the New Zealand Transport Agency had booked the school hall for a community consultation meeting, but this had been moved out three times now.

“This to me looks like they actually don’t have the schemes to consult on yet.

“Delays have gone on for 10 years and I certainly hope NZTA is getting closer to doing something about the problem as the population and business growth is rapid.”

Wairarapa-based Labour list MP Kieran McAnulty called an urgent meeting this week with Transport Minister Phil Twyford about the need for a roundabout at the Ngaumutawa intersection and another one at Norfolk Rd/SH 2 intersection.

The MP invited the Wairarapa mayors who all attended.

“These intersections are dangerous,” McAnulty said.

“The minister needed to hear the community’s call for safety measures on the highway.”

He said consultation had already been done and it was time to get on with it.

McAnulty said he appreciated NZTA was under pressure.

Masterton mayor Lyn Patterson was keen on a new 70kmh zone before the 100kmh zone at Masterton’s northern entrance, and speed reductions at Masterton’s southern entrance.

Carterton District Council has lobbied NZTA for a speed reduction in the area. This project was initially driven by former mayor John Booth.

Twyford said Tuesday’s meeting with Wairarapa representatives was very constructive and the mayors demanded quick action on reducing speeds on SH2.

“We had a very constructive discussion,” he said.

“The mayors made the case that regional growth, including increased development at Waingawa has put pressure on these two intersections.

“The mayors also demanded quick action on reducing speeds on State Highway 2,

“At the meeting, NZTA undertook to look at whether the speed review for State Highway 2 could be brought forward.

“Government investment in the two intersections, including potential roundabouts will be considered in the next funding round. It is dependent on local councils prioritising the roundabouts in their regional land transport plan.”

The next land transport funding round is in 2021.