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Sign thieves threaten safety

Sign thieves threaten safety

Road safety in North Shore City is being seriously compromised by persistent sign thieves.

Each month, thousands of dollars worth of road works signs, cones and barriers are stolen or vandalised - and it's risking lives, says the council's works and environment committee chairperson, Joel Cayford.

"The disappearing signs can contribute to road injuries and possible fatalities, and we're keen to try to put a stop to it," Councillor Cayford says.

"The council requires contractors working on the road to erect signs and cones to warn motorists about potentially dangerous situations and to reduce the risk of crashes. Even when the danger is not immediately apparent drivers should take extra care and obey the signs.

"Removal of the signs increases the risk and exposes innocent members of the community to unnecessary risk of a crash. The results can be traumatic and tragic."

A major road building and maintenance contractor to the council reported that it had lost $2700 worth of safety signs from just one contract over two weeks, and another contractor reported losses of $1500 worth of cones in two weeks.

The city's road maintenance manager, Chris Glanfield, says it's the responsibility of council contractors working on public roads to place warning signs and barriers around road works to make the sites safe. The contractor has to provide these signs at his cost.

But with signs going missing so regularly, contractors are having to increase their rates to cover this theft, this increases the project cost, and this is passed on to the ratepayers as increased rates or a reduction in the amount of work that can be done.

The council suspects that a certain percentage of signs are stolen "for the fun of it" and is offering a signs amnesty. It will even arrange for contractors or staff to collect signs, "no questions asked".

People wishing to give back signs are asked to look for any identifying marks on the sign which indicate ownership, and then to call council's Actionline, 486 8600, and arrange for them to be collected.

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