CEAC supports NZTA estimate on speed limits
CEAC supports NZTA estimate on speed limits being too high on most roads,
We often drive along the entire ‘East Coast Provincial Highway 2’ and it’s network ‘city’ links carrying heavy truck freight to our Ports, Napier & Gisborne and in all cases we observe far to high speeds all vehicles are attempting to navigate the narrow winding hilly roads that plague these regions with single lane roads.
There is an urgent need to reduce the road speeds on these “primary second class roading network roads” to a lower speed.
We often see evidence of truck crashes being attributed to these “soft roads” are unable to allow high speed travel safely for those heavy laden unstable vehicles when approaching many sharp corners, roundabouts and intersections.
When these obstacles are present, high sided laden logging and soft sided trucks are frequently seen to overturn on those locations.
Nick Leggett of the “Road Transport Forum” (RTF) is correct that a lower truck speed will increase the cost of consumer goods as freight cost will rise and we will all face those price rises, and has our support for that assumption.
In 2001 we attended a regional HBRC Land transport Committee Forum in Napier’s Marine Parade “War memorial” and the guest speaker was the current 2001 spokesperson of the (RTF) “Road Transport forum” a past National MP Tony Freidlander who began to address the forum with a statement ‘QUOTE’ “we have to face the facts that trucks are ‘not welcome’ so we need to make trucks more acceptable to the community.”
I later contacted Tony Friedlander when he returned to his home, and we both discussed how to solve the problem then, and we basically agreed NZ regional roads were not designed for trucks, and a better way was to have a separate “dedicated four lane truck route” as are seen most places overseas.
Our roads are referred to by some roading engineers as “soft roads” due to the ‘unstable soft clay base’ with a low weight bearing capability for trucks, so now when high weight laden trucks that are freely entering our roads that are unable to navigate our narrow winding roads that are actually collapsing the soft pavement of our roads under the weight of the heavier 63 tonne trucks we have all over most soft roads” in NZ the road surfaces are becoming very ‘uneven in contour’ making then difficult to drive on.
We approached three roading engineers about this issue of our (now named) “soft roads” inability to carry the laden weight of many (HPMV) 63 tonne trucks today; - and they advised us that we need a series of concrete steel reinforced slabs under base placed under our truck routes now.
We then looked around where we could find these type of roads that were now seen around NZ, and we found only a few sections of the Napier Hastings section of Highway two along the ‘Mangatere straight’ between Clive and Whakatu and that section was constructed with a concrete under-base during the 1940’s second world war era when the US Troops were stationed here and offered to construct this section to assist the movement of heavy trucks to take sheep carcasses to the US forces during the “Pacific war” in 1942 to 1945, and another advised us that the US offered to build an entire heavy road in NZ during that time during the war offering the same US highway standards they use so we missed that opportunity didn’t’ we?
I lived in Canada and Florida during 1960s to 1990s and saw many truck roads there were being dig up and concrete slabs were placed beneath them, so this is the reality that we need to ‘fund truck routes’ as a ‘toll road system’ as the US and EU does to build proper truck roads.
Meanwhile we must now move forward to restore rail freight and passenger services in our regions again as our ‘prime mover of freight’ as we had before so we can cope with road transport safely.
For the medium term now NZTA is right, we need to reduce the speed as NZTA correctly estimated and then plan to design new truck routes with the upgrades to those roads to a 21st century standard using the US style road building and toll road systems.