The government has announced a $41 million programme to improve road safety in North Canterbury.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency assessed a stretch of State Highway 1 in Waimakariri as unsafe because of the volume of traffic.
It said $35 million would go towards safety improvements on a 11.4km stretch of State Highway 1 between Saltwater Creek and the Cam River, and $6m would go towards improving pedestrian paths and cycleways.
There were plans for flexible median barriers, road widening and wide centreline markings, with the aim of reducing crashes on the road.
Associate Minister of Transport Kieran McAnulty said this stretch of the highway was a critical link for the people of North Canterbury.
“The area is experiencing huge growth. The road is becoming busier with more families and more economic activity which is great and should be encouraged, but we need to make sure that can happen safely,” he said.
Waka Kotahi said there had been five deaths and 30 people seriously injured in the 75 recorded crashes on the stretch of the highway between 2011 and 2020.
It said too many of the deaths and serious injuries were caused by head-on crashes.
Waimakariri mayor Dan Gordon said he was pleased the highway would be made safer.
“The community has been very vocal about the need to make some significant improvements in this area,” he said.
Gordon said his district was projected to grow by 25 percent over the next decade, and with this growth the improvements “can’t come soon enough”.
Waka Kotahi said it aimed to start the work on State Highway 1 in 2024.
It said the improvements were part of New Zealand’s Road to Zero goal of 40 percent fewer deaths and serious injuries on roads by 2030.
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz