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NZTA Continues safety improvements on State Highway 2
Having traversed the highway many times in my life I can safely say State Highway 2 between State Highway One at Pokeno and the SH2/25 Thames turn off can be both a dog and unsafe. NZTA having done the Mangatawhiri Deviation back in 2008 (which makes that section of highway easier and safer to travel on) are continuing to push for further safety improvements along this particular section of highway corridor.
Safety improvements being investigated on SH2 between Pokeno to Mangatarata
Known as the Safe System Corridor Project the Transport Agency says the investigation aims to identify what safety improvements are required along this section of SH2 to reduce the number of serious and fatal crashes caused by head-on and run-off-road impact, and to make the intersections safer.
Two sections of SH2 are being investigated – known as the Western and Eastern sections – in the last 10 years there have seen 214 crashes in these two sections. Fifteen of those were fatal, and 16 involved serious injuries. Most of the fatal and serious crashes were caused by vehicles crossing the centreline or running off the road.
The 7.4km Western Section is from the SH1 intersection at Pokeno to the Mangatawhiri Stream Bridge. The Eastern Section is 9.5km long and runs from Monument Road to the intersection with SH25.
“The project aims to save lives and reduce the severity of injuries by creating a more forgiving environment,’’ says Transport Agency’s acting highways manager Michelle Te Wharau.
In December 2011 the speed limit was reduced from 100km/h to 90km/h for much of the Maramarua Highway up to the SH25 turnoff. Average daily traffic counts are around 13,000 and soar to 24,000 at peak holiday times.
The key objectives for this Safe System project are to:
- Enhance the safety and wellbeing for the local community and residents who live and travel along this route
- Acknowledge that people can make mistakes while driving, are vulnerable in crashes and need a more forgiving environment
- Reduce the number of fatal and serious injury road crashes, particularly head-on, run-off road, and intersection crashes
- Maintain SH2 as a route for over-dimension and over-load heavy vehicle travel
- Develop and implement affordable solutions
“The project teams have just begun their work and will seek feedback from stakeholders and the people who live, work and travel along SH2,” says Mrs Te Wharau.
“As more detailed options are developed we will seek direct feedback from any affected residents and landowners.”
A public Open Day will be held towards the end of May/early June this year, says Mrs Te Wharau.
“Also along the Maramarua Highway, the Transport Agency aims to begin construction of a three-leg roundabout at the intersection of SH2/25 later this year.”
Also other works as part of this project include the realignment of SH2 at Kopuku which is in investigation stage and the Maramarua Deviation is in design stage. Investigation for passing lanes at Mangatarata is also nearing completion.
For further information about this project go to www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/maramaruahighway. Attached is a map of the SH2 highway being investigated as part of this project and what safety improvements have been undertaken in the past.
Some PDF’s for you
Safe System Corridor Project
SH2 Maramarua Highway Strategy
Hopefully this will be all completed by 2020.
Of note I believe this is not part of the Roads of National Significance yet carries a heck load of passenger and freight traffic between Thames, Tauranga and Auckland. I also believe this section of SH2 carries more traffic than the Holiday Highway ever would yet the Holiday Highway is a gold-plated 4 lane motorway compared to a two or three lane highway down in the Northern Waikato. If a 4-lane highway was ever needed I thought it would have been State Highway Two at Maramaura than at Puhoi. All Puhoi needs is the same stuff happening on State Highway 2 in being some deviations (including bypasses), some median barriers, some passing bays and some improved intersections. Simple, cost effective and yet gives more benefits than a 4-lane motorway.
I also note this part of State Highway Two forms part of the backbone of State Highways (1, 2, 27, 29) that connect up the Golden Triangle (Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga)
Wonders never cease with our Government and transport. That said I wonder what this big announcement is by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Transport tomorrow at Britomart (after 12 of course) will be? We await and see.