Speed limit to stay until safety upgrade complete

By Roger Moroney

2 comments

A "temporary" 70km/h speed limit along the stretch of SH2 at the Watchman Rd and Expressway intersection will now stay in place until a major safety upgrade of the site takes place later this year.

The limit was put in place just before last Christmas with the New Zealand Transport Agency conscious there would be a build-up in holiday traffic along a stretch of highway which had a poor safety record.

"At the time the intention was to retain this temporary speed limit until February 29," NZTA spokesman Oliver Postings said.

But reaction to the limit from both the local community and the freight industry citing the "positive benefits" of it prompted a re-think.

"As such we have opted to leave the 70km/h speed limit in place until the works commence on the intersection improvements."

Mr Postings said there were a number of events coming up across the region which would draw increased traffic.

"And with the growth at the airport we and key stakeholders consider this action to be appropriate."

Progress on devising a safer alternative to the present layout was well under way, although getting the appropriate resource consents agreed upon by all agencies concerned could take time.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton, who has been part of the meetings called to come up with a layout all parties were in agreement with, said a lot of progress had been made and said all involved wanted to get the process sorted by the end of September.

Work is expected to begin in December.

The targeted option is a roundabout at the intersection with a new entrance to the airport from off Watchman Rd.

Hawke's Bay Airport chief executive Nick Story said the airport company was supportive of the roundabout scheme as well as a new entranceway as the present set-up, off the main highway, had also become a danger spot.

Meanwhile, NZTA contract crews had stepped up resealing and repair work on highways across the region and have advised motorists to expect some minor travel delays.

On SH2 north bridge work is under way at the Ohinepaka Bridge and rail overbridge just west of Wairoa and at the Mangaturanga Bridge near Raupunga.

Speed restrictions and temporary traffic signals are in place.

Restrictions are also in place at various sites between Whirinaki and Wairoa as repairs and re-coating programmes are carried out.

Seal widening and guardrail work is under way just north of the Devil's Elbow and Tangoio Hill with slight delays expected.

On SH5 between Napier and Taupo sealing and repair work is taking place at several sites between Esk Valley and Tarawera.

Motorists are also being asked to observe speed restriction and stop-go signals at points between Westshore and Bay View on Sunday while the Tremains Corporate Triathlon takes place.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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