Road changes safer for users

Passing lanes on a notorious stretch of Taranaki road will not be reinstated but further safety measures are about to be introduced.

The NZ Transport Agency will be undertaking work over the next few days to replace the two passing lanes on State Highway 3 near Big Jim's Garden Centre with wide shoulders and a wide centreline to improve safety for road users.

Regional highways manager David McGonigal said the passing lanes were closed late last year using safe hit posts and a temporary speed limit reduction.

"This stretch of highway has been host to a frightening number of crashes," he said.

"By discouraging people from speeding up to overtake in what we know is a high-risk corridor, we will reduce the risk of people losing control and potentially getting killed or becoming seriously injured."

McGonigal said wider shoulders and centrelines would make the road more forgiving by allowing more room for drivers to correct themselves if they made an error. This would help reduce the risk of head on collisions or crashes, he said. The wider shoulder would also give cyclists more breathing space, making it safer for all road users.

McGonigal said the Transport Agency is working with its partners as it looks into other measures to improve safety on the busy stretch of highway, such as potential roading improvements and making the 80km/h speed limit permanent.

"Road safety is a shared responsibility, and while we continue to explore measures to keep people safe, we urge drivers to watch their speeds and drive with care."

Taranaki Daily News