New Zealand's riskiest roads revealed

File photo / Christine Cornege
File photo / Christine Cornege

A tourist route where an American honeymooner died has been identified as one of the country's riskiest roads to drive on.

Another two Waikato roads topped the list of the country's most risky to drive on.

The Kiwi Road Assessment Programme (KiwiRAP) report, released today, looked into the safety of about 11,000 kilometres of rural state highways nationally.

A total of 60 of the worst roads were identified by comparing the number of deadly and serious crashes on the stretches of roads between 2002 and 2006 and then between 2007 and 2011.

The stretch of road between Huntly and Hamilton and State Highway 31 and from Kawhia to State Highway 3, both in Waikato, were the riskiest.

The road from State Highway 3 to Waitomo Caves was the third riskiest.

In September American honeymooner Kallan Stithem was killed and his wife seriously injured when they pulled into the path of a cement truck at the State Highway 3 intersection.

Earlier this year a Canadian woman died in the same spot when her husband pulled into traffic.

Most of the dangerous roads were in the North Island, with only 13 South Island roads unidentified.

The report by KiwiRap, a joint partnership between government agencies and the AA, compared accident hotspots last year with those identified in 2007.

"The first step to making something better is to know how well it is currently working and where and how it can be improved, and this is what KiwiRAp enables us to do,'' AA spokesman Mike Noon said.

The report helped agencies, such as the New Zealand Transport Agency and police, identify which stretches of roads should be targeted with more safety improvements, he said.

Associate Minister of Transport Simon Bridges said the report helped the Government measure and understand risk levels "and helps us target our efforts to where we'll save the most lives''.

The data would feed into future decision-making into road and roadside improvements, campaign messaging, and speed management, he said.

But Labour transport safety spokesman Iain Lees-Galloway accused the Government of not acting soon enough on the information, saying a dangerous stretch of road would not be made safer for a decade.

The KiwiRap report identified State Highway 1 from Warkworth to Wellsford as one of the highest risk roads, with 9 fatal and 17 serious crashes between 2007 and 2011.

"This stretch of road is included in the Government's $1.7 billion-plus Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance, which won't be completed until 2022. That's another 10 years of drivers having to run the gauntlet of a dangerous road,'' Mr Lees-Galloway said.

Click here to read the full government report

Click here for a look at the dangerous roads map

- APNZ

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