No plans for passing lanes - NZTA
Motorists hoping to overtake slower-moving traffic between Timaru and Oamaru will have to stick to existing passing lanes and other safe overtaking opportunities, at least in the near future.
New Zealand Transport Agency highway manager Colin Knaggs says there are no plans at this stage to install further passing lanes on SH1 between Timaru and Oamaru.
"SH1 is classified as a National Strategic Highway," Mr Knaggs said.
"This is the highest category and therefore, a key route expected to carry reasonable volumes of traffic. Passing lanes are provided along a highway based on certain criteria that include traffic volumes.
"The criteria are not met along the stretch of SH1 from Timaru to Oamaru, where there are plenty of long straights which provide sufficient and safe overtaking opportunities.
Post Haste Timaru branch manager Dave Gilkison said the Timaru-Oamaru stretch of road was "the worst for traffic delays".
"The road definitely needs more passing lanes. Sometimes our drivers are delayed by upwards of 10 minutes and that can affect onward connections.
"It's pretty tiresome, especially compared to the Oamaru-Dunedin route, which has plenty of passing lanes. Over the years, all we seem to have got is more straight roads."
Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher said he would like to see more passing lanes installed on the Oamaru-Timaru stretch.
"Extra passing lanes would certainly keep the traffic flowing, especially as there is increased traffic along this stretch of the road," Mr Kircher said.
"Although I would like to see more traffic lanes created, money is limited for projects such as these."
Mr Knaggs said with no new passing lanes planned, the transport agency would continue to monitor traffic volumes and crash data for that section of SH1 and respond to any changes in travel patterns.
There are overtaking lanes at Hilderthorpe, just north of Pukeuri, at Otaio and at Pareora, on the outskirts of Timaru.
Slip lanes have also been put in place at the entrance to the new Glenavy dairy factory, which is due to be commissioned in July or August.
- The Timaru Herald