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Safety campaign protects Auck’s road workers

Safety campaign aims to protect Auckland’s road workers

Auckland’s motorways are about to experience their most intensive period of construction activity with $415M already committed to upgrading projects aimed at reducing the region’s traffic congestion.

This will put increasing numbers of road workers on the motorways, and roads of the region, whose lives will be at risk unless motorists obey the rules and watch out for them.

Already, with only low level construction activity, the motorways are a dangerous place for road workers. Over the last five years, there have been 48 reported crashes at roadwork sites throughout the Auckland region, involving 95 people, of whom five were killed and seven seriously injured.

More than half the accidents occurred at night, when the majority of road works take place, and were due to drivers losing control of their vehicles because they ignored roadwork signs, in particular temporary speed limits.

To help raise the awareness of roadworks, and to promote the safety of workers, Transit New Zealand and RoadSafe Auckland have launched a ‘Safety at Roadworks Sites’ motorway safety campaign urging drivers to ‘Slow down at roadworks’ and obey the temporary signs.

Launching the campaign today (Friday 16 May 2003), Transit Regional Manager Wayne McDonald said that for the next five years at least, a number of major projects would be ongoing to upgrade the Auckland motorway system.

These, he said, would link up important sections of motorway in the centre of Auckland, and also establish the strategic western ring route giving an alternative north-south route to avoid the city centre and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

“Work has already progressed substantially on upgrading State Highway 16 through Grafton Gully, the new Puhinui interchange in Manukau City is nearing completion, and we are now starting work on the Central Motorway Junction and the Upper Harbour Corridor linking Waitakere City and North Shore City,” he said.

“Now we are about to embark on the biggest period of road construction in Auckland’s history and there are going to be more workers on the motorways for longer and longer periods. We have to respect their lives by obeying the signs and slowing down at roadwork sites.”

RoadSafe Auckland spokesperson, Auckland Regional Councillor Catherine Harland, said: “Excessive speed at roadworks puts road workers’ lives at risk, contributes to crashes and also damages the road surface, creating delays to the roadworks.

“Motorists who speed through roadworks are often shocked by the size of their fine, as the fine is determined by the speed they are travelling over the temporary limit. For these reasons, we hope the campaign encourages more motorists to slow down at roadworks.”

Superintendent, Dick Trimble, said the NZ Police would be supporting the safety campaign by focusing on the targeted enforcement of safe driving at roadworks.

“Our motorway police will be concentrating on those drivers who fail to obey temporary safety and speed signs at roadworks and endanger the lives of workers. They simply must understand that the signs are there for the purpose of safety and that they have to slow down. If they don’t we will act against them,” he said.

“In instances where offenders’ speeds exceed the threshold set in legislation, police officers will use their powers administratively by removing their driver's licence at the scene and they will be suspended on the spot from driving for 28 days.”

Throughout the safety campaign – which will run for the next two months – drivers will be reminded to ‘slow down at roadworks’ by billboards alongside motorway on-ramps and radio adverts on five of the major radio stations in the Auckland region. Some 30,000 brochures will also be distributed by Transit, the Auckland Regional Council and local authorities, as well as by driving organisations and rental car companies.

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