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Making The Road To Akaroa Safer For Everyone, Starting With Speed

From this week, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency will begin seeking feedback from communities on Banks Peninsula and Christchurch about the current speeds on the road to Akaroa, hear their concerns and tap into local knowledge.

The public engagement period will run from 23 June to 27 July.

The route is mostly State Highway 75 which starts on Halswell Road, but includes a small part of SH73 where Curletts Road meets Halswell Road. People can provide input on any part of the route and where they think speeds are not the right fit.

Between 2011 and 2020, 75 people were killed or suffered serious injuries in crashes on this road to Akaroa*, leaving families grieving and victims dealing with potentially life-long injuries.

“Canterbury ranks second in New Zealand next to Waikato for the highest fatality rate from car crashes over the past ten years,” says Waka Kotahi System Manager Pete Connors. “Given the relatively small traffic volumes on the Akaroa highway – averaging 1,500 to 5,000 vehicles per day from Tai Tapu to Akaroa – the number of serious and fatality crashes is very high. Christchurch to Akaroa is our highest-risk route in terms of personal safety in Canterbury.**

“Making changes to the speed is the simplest thing we can do to increase people’s chances of walking away from a car crash or not sustaining serious injuries or dying.”

Local people are already calling for speeds to be lowered in some places on the road to Akaroa, says Mr Connors. “Anyone who’s made the trip knows that it requires care, concentration and safe speeds as the road varies from long flat areas to winding hills over Hilltop and around Akaroa harbour. The scenic winding sections have steep drop-offs and reduced visibility, and this is where motorcyclists are being killed and injured.

“Cyclists and pedestrians use the road in close proximity to passing vehicles. Unforgiving roadside conditions and narrow shoulders mean there’s little margin for error if mistakes are made.

Community pop-up sessions

“We’d like people to tell us about places that are hard to get to or from, how safe they feel crossing the highway or letting children walk or cycle to school, and if there are any other sites or information that we need to be especially aware of,” says Mr Connors.

This information will feed into the technical review of this route to help Waka Kotahi decide where speed limit changes could improve safety, and help shape any new proposed speed limits, which will later this year be formally consulted on.

Come and let us know your concerns as regular users of this route:

  • Te Hapua Halswell Centre Thursday 1 July 3–6pm
  • Little River School Tuesday 6 July 3–6pm
  • Tai Tapu Hotel Tuesday 6 July 10am–1pm
  • The Gaiety Hall, Akaroa Saturday 10 July 11am–2pm

You can find out more and share your thoughts by:

What else are we doing to make SH75 safer?

Around 30km of this highway to Akaroa will be resurfaced or have pavement rehabilitation over the next three years, helping increase its performance and safety, particularly in winter. Maintenance activities will continue also.

The picturesque but challenging route from Christchurch to Akaroa, SH73 and SH75:

Did you know?

  • The speed of a vehicle at impact is the single biggest factor that determines if you or someone you love, dies, or survives a crash.
  • You’re around 30% more likely to be in a serious injury crash at 90 km/hr than at 80 km/hr.

Road to Zero – the national picture

Improving safety on New Zealand roads is a top priority for Waka Kotahi, which is committed to Vision Zero, which aspires to a New Zealand where no-one is killed or seriously injured on our roads.

“Everyone makes mistakes on our roads, but these mistakes should not cost us our lives,” says Mr Connors.

“To reduce deaths and serious injuries we need to take action on several fronts, from speed limits to driver education to improving the safety of roads and vehicles. Even when speed isn’t the direct cause of a crash, it is the single biggest factor that determines whether a person is killed, seriously injured or walks away from a crash unharmed.”

Road to Zero, New Zealand’s road safety strategy, sets out the goal of reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 40 percent over the next decade. This sets an initial target of reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on New Zealand roads by 40% (compared to 2018 levels) by 2030, as a first step towards a long-term goal of no deaths or serious injuries.

Reaching that initial target would mean reducing annual road deaths to fewer than 230 and serious injuries to fewer than 1,700 by 2030.

In 2020, 318 people were killed and more than 2,500 were seriously injured on New Zealand roads.

*Taken from a 10-year period from 2011 to 2020, data from the Crash Analysis System.

** In comparison, SH1 Rolleston to Christchurch Southern Motorway Stage 2 has between 20,000 and 25,000 vehicles on average daily (2018/2019 data.)

Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with:

· Traffic updates: journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic

© Scoop Media

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