High risk for Bay road users

By Staff reporter

The back road to Rotorua and SH 29 over the Kaimai Range have bucked static or improving safety trends on Western Bay of Plenty highways over the past 10 years.

An assessment of the Bay's highways, called KiwiRAP, has highlighted the consequences of the increasing popularity of SH 36 from Pyes Pa to Ngongotaha.

Since major engineering improvements took out the slowest and most challenging sections of the road, its overall (collective) risk has risen from medium to medium-high.

Likewise, the risk as measured by each person using the road has gone up from medium-high to high.

New Zealand Transport Agency's report on the risk ratings for Waikato/Bay of Plenty roads was released recently by regional director Harry Wilson.

The ''high'' risk to each driver using SH 36 reflected the general pattern that personal risk was often highest on lower  volume, lower-standard, mountainous roads.

The only other road to show a decline in safety standards was SH 29 over the Kaimai Range, where the overall risk went from medium-high to high.

The stretch of road between Tauranga and Katikati, once nicknamed ''horror highway'', because of the high number of fatal crashes, retained its rating as posing a high overall risk but years of safety upgrades to the road have seen the fatal and injury crashes per kilometre stabilise at a low-medium risk.


- Bay of Plenty Times

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