Dangerous road prompts action
A Feilding couple who count themselves among hordes who have had a close call driving a hazardous stretch of road near their home have taken matters into their own hands.
Feilding resident Trevor Smart has erected a sign at the tight turn-off where Awahuri Feilding and Stewart roads meet, claiming it is a hazard that needs to be addressed.
‘‘I’ve lived here 20 years and the number of accidents here is just diabolical,’’ he said.
Manawatu District Council had shaved back a stopbank perpendicular to the turn-off to Bulls in recognition that it was a crash blackspot, said council roading manager Wayne Keightley.
But Kawakawa Rd resident Mr Smart and his partner Jillian Morris, who had a close call on the spot recently near where she lost a friend in a car crash several years ago, said the work had not helped.
Two crosses marking road deaths are visible, as well as the sign Mr Smart has erected.
And on Wednesday evening, a car smashed into a spot on a bridge less than 100 metres down the road, creating a hole in the left side of a short bridge.
A ‘‘queues ahead’’ roading hazard sign is in place, but Mr Smart said it didn’t seem to help.
Six months ago he had witnessed the scene of a car crash just metres from where he had put up his sign; the male occupant of the upended car later died.
Mr Smart’s sister-in-law had written off her car in the very same spot two years’ before and although she got off luckier, had not worked since, he said.
Mr Keightley said both Awahuri and Halcombe roads had been identified as problem areas in a safety strategy report presented to the council last week.
As a result, both had been scheduled for funding for improvements, subject to council approval.
‘‘There has been material work there but none of them have really worked. Some of the banks had been shaved back to help.’’
Further works could take up to 10 years to complete, but the Awahuri-Stewart roads intersection was atop the list for action to be funded by the Manawatu District Council and the NZ Transport Agency, and was likely to be completed first, Mr Keightley said.
‘‘We are well aware of the concerns,’’ he said.
‘‘The Stewart Rd-Awahuri block has been identified as the first priority on Awahuri so we have already got some works there.’’
Mr Smart said the problem that needed to be addressed was the concealed queues stopping to turn off that surprised drivers taking the corner at the 100kmh limit.
‘‘They’re coming around here at 100kmh and then tearing around the corner, and hello – traffic jam.’’
He said the council and NZTA should spend money engineering a turning lane to help move traffic around cars concealed by the corner that had stopped to turn right.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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