Signs on horizon for underpass

17:00, May 05 2014

Signs pointing to a pedestrian underpass near the scene where two pedestrians died at Tongaporutu are in the pipeline, transport authorities said yesterday.

New Plymouth couple Bob, 83, and Joan Murch, 78, died last Thursday when they were hit by a car as they walked - arms linked - across State Highway 3.

Their family have told how the couple were returning from a walk and chose to cross the open road rather than take the underpass as the other two had done.

The couple were aware of the underpass.

"We are carrying out a full investigation of this crash and we will be working closely with New Plymouth District Council and police to understand the contributing factors of this crash and identify how similar tragedies can be prevented in future," New Zealand Transport Agency regional highways manager David McGonigal said yesterday.

McGonigal offered his condolences to the family.


Council parks manager Mark Bruhn said the council would work with the agency on the signs in the area.

The walkway was developed about 18 years ago by the residents themselves and with the council's support, Bruhn said.

And after being asked to do so by the residents, the council had placed some walkway underpass signs in the area more than a year ago, he said.

The Tongaporutu management plan, which includes submissions for more signs, was currently being worked through by council.

Resident Richard Burton, who assisted at the scene of the crash, said last week he had been asking for better signs at Tongaporutu for about three years.

Taranaki Daily News