Police to keep watch for speeding cars at roadworks

Senior Constable Ross Smolenski, of Invercargill, is leading the campaign to get drivers to slow down at roadworks.
Senior Constable Ross Smolenski, of Invercargill, is leading the campaign to get drivers to slow down at roadworks.

Southern drivers are being told to slow down around road works amid concerns someone could be seriously injured or killed by people ignoring temporary speed zones.

Southland road policing team leader Senior Sergeant John Pine said police would be at road work sites checking drivers were following the temporary speed limits.

Maintenance, reconstruction and realignment programmes underway in the south meant there were many roadworks sites on southern roads and police would enforce the temporary speed zones to protect the construction workers and make the sections of road under construction safe for other road users, he said.

Senior Constable Ross Smolenski, who will lead the initiative, said speeding at road works was a big issue.

"Police have been contacted by contractors working on the roads because of a concern to their workers and also the damage speeding motorists do to the repairs," he said.

Speeding at construction zones endangered the lives of workers and increased chances of a crash, damage to road surfaces and damage to other cars caused by loose stones, he said.

Police would also target motorists after work hours.

"We've been told by construction workers when they come back to work in the morning, sometimes there are tyre marks going off the road, a likely result of ignoring the temporary speed limits," Mr Smolenski said.

Construction worker Alan Hudson from The Roading Company said he was glad police would be watching out for workers.

"I have had moments where I've felt in danger from drivers ignoring temporary speed limits," he said.

"A speed of 30kmh may seem slow to drivers but if you are

standing outside working, that speed and anything faster is still enough to be dangerous."

Working close to speeding traffic was something he had got used to but it should not be part of a construction worker's job, Mr Hudson said. "We all want to go home at the end of a work day."

NZ Transport Agency Southland state highway operations manager Peter Robinson said temporary speed zones were set to protect workers and road users.

Several factors were used to determine the temporary speed limit, he said. A key factor was the safety of motorbike riders, the most vulnerable road users, Mr Robinson said.

"Car drivers may feel constrained with some of the speed limits but motorbikes are our key concern," he said.

The NZ Transport Agency employed a "positive traffic control programme" setting up road cones to ensure drivers slowed down.

The agency took steps to reduce the waiting time at road works and the number of speed restrictions but urged motorists to be patient when they encountered temporary speed zones, Mr Robinson said.

The Southland Times