NZTA hopes new guard rail will save pedestrians' lives

By Hannah Norton

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The new pedestrian guard rail at Otaika Rd, Whangarei. Photo / Michael Cunningham
The new pedestrian guard rail at Otaika Rd, Whangarei. Photo / Michael Cunningham

A new guard rail has been installed at the crossing opposite the Otaika shops in an effort to reduce the number of pedestrians hit by cars.

Completed last week by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), the galvanised steel fence extends 106m south of the crossing and 46m north of the crossing on State Highway One opposite the Otaika shops.

The purpose of the fence is to encourage people to use the pedestrian crossing, after the area was identified as problematic in the NZTA's latest crash reduction studies, NZTA highway manager Brett Gliddon said.

"The latest study identified too many incidents involving pedestrians near the Otaika shops - over the last five years there have been four crashes involving pedestrians," he said.

In December last year, an 8-year-old girl was seriously injured by a truck at the crossing.

The high number of incidents had pushed locals to start a petition demanding work be done on the crossing and the approach.

"The NZ Transport Agency acknowledges ... the unanimous feedback it received in favour of the pedestrian fence when it consulted local families about additional safety improvements at the crossing," Mr Gliddon said.

"In many built-up areas where schools are close to high volume arterial roads, pedestrian fences have been installed successfully to discourage people taking risky short cuts across the busy road and to encourage them to use the pedestrian crossing.

" ... This is a very busy section of State Highway 1 and people still need to be alert and aware of traffic."

The pedestrian fence is the latest in a series of recent improvements at the crossing, including brighter painted islands, red coloured pavement and special skid resistance pavement on the approach to the crossing.

- Northern Advocate

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