Left-over signs a safety hazard

18:19, Nov 08 2012
Road signs
Not closed: The 'shoulder closed' sign left standing on the roadside outside the district council building on Seymour St, in Blenheim, since seismic testing on the Seymour Square war memorial clock tower was completed about three weeks ago.

Roadworks signs should be removed as soon as the work is finished, a Marlborough roading official says.

Marlborough Road Safety Council chairman Nigel Perry said yesterday that drivers started to ignore warning signs when they were left up after work had finished.

He was concerned drivers would quickly become complacent and start ignoring all warning signs, putting other motorists and work crews in danger.

One example was a "shoulder closed" sign left sitting on Seymour St, in Blenheim, for at least three weeks since seismic testing work on the war memorial clock tower finished. It was outside the Marlborough District Council building and everyone was ignoring it, he said.

There were many other examples around the region, including works signs left up at weekends when no work was going on.

Road signs were important, and should be obeyed, but they should be taken down as soon as the work was finished, Mr Perry said.


He did not blame Marlborough Roads, the organisation that manages all road works in the region for the council and the New Zealand Transport Agency. "It's not entirely their problem. There should be penalties if contractors are not putting their signs away."

Marlborough Roads general manager Frank Porter agreed with Mr Perry, and asked people to contact the organisation's 24-hour answering service when they noticed signs left out.

"We are always on the case," he said. "We can't be everywhere but I think we're getting better at it."

Their priorities were on state highways, were vehicles were going faster, but were also aware of the situation in urban areas.

"There's a lot of work going on with the ultra fast broadband cables and we are working with those contractors," Mr Porter said. "One of our guys is spending 50 per cent of his time on traffic management with them."

This included returning urban speed limits to 50kmh when the contractors were not working at night and weekends.

While contractors who left signs up were not fined, they could be penalised through audit processes, he said. "We might reject a traffic management plan from someone who hasn't been playing the game."

The 24-hour contact number is (03) 520 7400.

The Marlborough Express