Fewer school speedsters a godsend'

By Lin Ferguson

Kai Iwi school principal Alastair White is thrilled with the transformation this week as traffic slows up before passing the school at key pick-up and drop-off periods.

"At first, I actually thought there had been an accident down the road after the permanent speed signs went up on Tuesday. Cars, trucks and buses had all slowed right down. It was incredible to watch them."

Kai Iwi was one of five rural schools selected for a NZ Transport Agency trial a month ago for a 70km/h limit to be imposed during key periods.

The small school is beside State Highway 3 near Wanganui, on a straight stretch with two blind corners at either end, Mr White said.

"It was always a nightmare," he said, but the traffic slowing up has been an absolute godsend. The change had taken the school six years of dealing with bureaucracy and pleading its case again and again, he said.

Last November, the school even petitioned the Wanganui District Council about its road safety issues and, as a result, the school and the council had agreed to work together on road safety.

"It's been a safety nightmare, because the school lacks visibility. Drivers on State Highway 3 who are unfamiliar with the area - and a lot of them would be - might not even realise they're approaching a school."

The key times are 8.30am to 9.05am and 2.55pm to 3.30pm.

"We value the lives of our kids, and we've been waiting a very long time for this."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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