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Speed limit reduced on Centennial Highway today

Wellington Regional Office
Media Information for Immediate Use

23 August 2004
Transit takes immediate steps to reduce the speed limit on Centennial Highway

Transit New Zealand has taken immediate steps to reduce the speed limit on Centennial Highway on State Highway 1 between Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki in response to Friday’s fatal accident.

“Today we lowered the speed limit from 100 km/h to 80 km/h, and we are looking again at whether we can install a wire rope barrier along this section of highway,” said Kevin Locke Transit New Zealand’s Wellington regional asset manager.

“Even though speed may not have been a factor in Friday’s accident, reducing the speed limit is another measure which can be taken to improve safety on this difficult section of highway by reducing the number and severity of crashes.”

“The decision on whether a wire rope barrier will be installed will be made within four weeks. A wire rope barrier would eliminate any head-on crashes,” said Mr Locke.

A wire rope barrier has been considered in the past but discounted as an option due to the very narrow alignment of the road.

“Erecting a wire rope barrier on this section of the highway is a major undertaking – the road may need to be widened and possibly a new sea wall built. Also, any sort of median barrier in this area would make it harder to redirect traffic after an accident and could result in considerable delays for motorists.”

Transit implemented a number of safety measures in December 2000, which have been successful in improving the level of safety on Centennial Highway.

“We removed the passing lanes and installed audible double yellow lines to prevent overtaking. We also erected additional speed advisory, ‘accident area’, and ‘no passing’ signs,” said Mr Locke. “Research carried out in 2003 found that these safety initiatives reduced the yearly injury and non-injury crash rate in that section of the highway by 43 per cent.

ENDS

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