SH63 a high risk for drivers

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 08:00 23/11/2012
SH63
Derek Flynn
Take care: A new assessment has rated State Highway 63 from Renwick to Kawatiri, near St Arnaud, as one of New Zealand’s most dangerous rural roads.

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State Highway 63 between Renwick and Kawatiri near St Arnaud is one of the most dangerous rural roads in New Zealand, according to the Automobile Association and four government agencies.

The Road Assessment Programme, a partnership between the Automobile Association, police, NZ Transport Agency, Transport Ministry and ACC, has analysed road safety ratings of the rural state highway network.

That analysis rated SH63 as "high" personal risk, meaning it averaged more than nine fatal and serious injury crashes a year per 100 million vehicle-kilometres.

Rated as "medium-high" risk were SH1 between Kaikoura and Waipara (8.1) and SH6 between Havelock and Nelson (7.7).

On the collective risk analysis, looking at the annual average fatal and serious injury crashes per kilometre, the most dangerous roads that rated as "medium-high" were SH1 between Picton and Blenheim (0.14) and SH6 between Havelock and Nelson (0.11).

Marlborough District Council assets and services manager Mark Wheeler said he had yet to see the analysis and road assessments.

While those roads were state highways controlled by NZTA, the council had an input into the prioritisation of work on them through the Regional Transport Programme.

"The council will be sitting down with (Marlborough Roads) and assessing this. We need to understand the rationale behind it a bit better."

Work was programmed for the state highway between Blenheim and Picton, he said.

"Whether that's addressing the road issues or not . . . one would hope so."

Some roads were constrained by their limitations, such as state highways running between hills and the sea, and others were lightly travelled, so had difficulty attracting funding for improvements.

SH63 fell into that category and would always struggle to get funding, he said.

There were real constraints on the amount of funding available, and some routes were expensive to retrofit.

The analysis said risk ratings for several stretches of state highway in Marlborough had risen from the 2002-06 and 2007-11 data, including the collective risk on SH6 from Havelock to Nelson (medium to medium-high), and the personal risk on SH63 from Renwick to Kawatiri (medium to high).

It said the risk rating of SH1 from Kaikoura to Waipara remained steady at medium for collective risk and medium-high for personal risk.

Risk ratings for several stretches of state highway in Marlborough had fallen, including SH1 from Blenheim to Kaikoura, SH6 from Blenheim to Havelock, and SH62 from Spring Creek to Renwick.

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- The Marlborough Express

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