State highway a low risk: agency

The New Zealand Transport Agency has labelled Geraldine's State Highway 79 a low crash risk.

Agency traffic and safety manager Tony Spowart said crashes occurred along the entire 61-kilometre length of the highway, which ran from Fairlie to the Rangitata and through Geraldine.

"As with other low-volume highways, the crashes are random and not isolated to any particular area," he said.

Spowart said almost 40 per cent of the 139 crashes in the last five years (54) have been the result of drivers failing to take a corner.

Eighteen lost control, 13 were turning, 11 were head-on and 10 were rear-end crashes. The remaining 33 crashes were for a range of other reasons, such as overtaking, crossing the highway and merging, he said.

Spowart said the agency was committed to making the highway safer.

"In recent years we have installed safety barriers along various sections of SH79 and we have an ongoing programme of shoulder widening."

Geraldine Volunteer Fire Brigade chief Graeme Mould agreed with the agency.

"We get to a few crashes on that road but not as many as Coach Rd and Rangitata Rd," he said.

Mould said there were few crashes attended to on SH79 due to the volume of traffic. "It gets tourist traffic, buses and trucks along there, but nothing about it sticks out," he said.

The Timaru Herald