Woman wins battle for road signs

By Amy Shanks

A woman plagued by cars crashing through her Te Aute road fence, spooking and at times seriously injuring prize horses, has won a six-year battle with the council to have reflective signs installed.

The final straw came on Tuesday when a light brown Ford hit a concrete power pole and burst into flames after failing to navigate the corner near a junction of Longlands and Hastings Rds. The driver allegedly fled the scene in a matte black Ford. As of last night he had not yet been found by police.

The smash left Cherie Carey and her family without power for almost 24 hours, and more importantly raised issues about the safety of that stretch of road.

"This was the first crash which happened while it was still light, almost all the others happened in darkness, which raises questions about the corner," she told Hawke's Bay Today. "Our huge metal letter box ended up at the neighbours, he's hit a concrete pole and a large concrete strainer post - how the hell he didn't kill himself I just don't know."

It was just one of many accidents in the same spot, which had seen her pay thousands of dollars in vet bills to mend horses which received serious injuries from bolting through fences to escape the chaos.

Fortunately all of Mrs Carey's horses were safely inside their boxes at the time of Tuesday's crash. "I have had horses with broken legs, horses with legs ripped to shreds, and horses with half of their faces ripped off. I just kept a record of everything, it wasn't mending the fence which concerned us, it's the safety of our animals and of other people."

The bend, which comes at the end of an extremely long straight, was quite visible by day but became extremely difficult to see at night, which is why Mrs Carey took it upon herself to order some reflective arrows for the fence.

Fortunately she would no longer need them after meeting with a Hastings District Council roading engineer yesterday.

"Council is aware of the safety issues on this stretch of road, and following a conversation with Cherie and her husband, has commissioned some signage which will be erected at the corner which runs alongside their property," Transportation Manager Jag Pannu said. "This work forms part of the corridor safety strategy for this route."

The stretch, a 100km/h zone, was set in accordance with land transport rules, but its appropriateness would be considered in a future speed limit bylaw review. "The roading team will continue to monitor safety performance along Te Aute Road and will be in contact with Mrs Carey again, once the signage has been installed," Mr Pannu said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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