Feedback Required for Proposed Changes to SH1

NZ is currently undergoing some rigorous and significant changes to their main state highways and under the spotlight is the section of road between Ōtaki and Levin. Locals will know that the section of road has remained much the same over the last decade.

Traffic congestion has only heightened with a bottleneck at the motorway exit that now bypasses Paraparaumu. The completion of the Transmission Gully motorway is scheduled to be completed in September this year which should further alleviate traffic pressure into Wellington.

The area of focus has now shifted north to the small towns of Ōtaki and Levin. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is seeking public feedback on the stretch of road about proposed safety improvements and current speed limits on State Highway 1.

In the five years from 2016 to 2020, seven people lost their lives and 28 people were seriously injured on SH1 between Ōtaki and Levin.

“We want everyone who uses our roads to get to where they’re going safely. Safe speed limits and infrastructure improvements will save lives and reduce the number of people seriously injured on New Zealand’s roads,” said director of Regional Relationships Linda Stewart.

Waka Kotahi is planning a combination of safety improvements to SH1, including painted wide centrelines, side and median barriers, three new turnaround locations and a new roundabout at the SH1/SH57 intersection. Some safety improvements have already been installed in Manakau and Ohau.

These safety improvements are part of the Ōtaki to north of Levin programme of works, which focuses on improving the safety and resilience of the road while Waka Kotahi continues working to deliver a new 24-kilometre four-lane highway to the east of the existing SH1 within the next decade.

“When the new highway is open, SH1 will continue to connect communities and be an important local road. In the meantime, traffic volumes on this stretch of SH1 will remain high so we are focused on improving safety for both local and through traffic,” said Stewart.

“We want to tap into local knowledge and find out what people think of our proposed infrastructure changes, as well as the current speed limits on SH1 between Taylors Road in Ōtaki and just beyond Kawiu Road north of Levin,” she said.

“Even when speed doesn’t cause the crash, it’s what will most likely to determine whether you or someone you love is killed, injured, or walks away unharmed from that crash. That’s why we need to make sure that speeds are safe and appropriate for the road.”

Stewart said Waka Kotahi wants to hear what locals and people who travel this route regularly think about the current speed limits, how they use the road and what their concerns might be.

Feedback gathered through the engagement period will feed into the technical assessment of the road to help Waka Kotahi determine whether to propose speed limit changes to improve safety, where any proposed new speed limits would begin or end, and if any other safety improvements are needed.

NZTA encourages all motorists and feedback to make informed decisions about the upcoming changes. Truck drivers in particular are useful assets to the survey as they are likely to not only know the road well, but also have ideas about how the changes could be implemented.

If you would like to read the full article head on over to the NZ Trucking website or alternatively if you would like to read more about the ongoing project head over to NZTA website.

The public engagement period runs until Wednesday 11 August.