Construction of median barriers on a stretch of Hawke's Bay Expressway that claimed the lives of two Hawke's Bay residents in November 2019 could still be three years away.
The fatal crash occurred on November 15, 2019, between the Kennedy Rd overbridge and the Taradale Rd roundabout.
Coroner Heather McKenzie's findings for Patrick Tama O'Brien, one of the men who died in the crash, outlined the circumstances where O'Brien was driving south on the expressway near Onekawa.
Anthony Anderson, 75, was driving north on the expressway.
Both were the sole occupants of their vehicles. Anderson crossed the centre line and the vehicles collided.
The two men died at the scene.
The coroner declined to make any comments or recommendations on the basis of the work being done following the fatal crash towards installing a median barrier and widening the Napier-Hastings Expressway at the relevant location.
"Additionally, if fatigue of Mr Anderson were a factor in the crash, there are already public safety campaigns relating to driving while tired and taking rests and I do not consider a further recommendation is required in this area."
The coroner's findings stated that following the crash the decision had been made by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to work towards installing median barriers on the specific section of road.
Waka Kotahi advised the coroner the design work had been done for the road widening and the median barriers.
McKenzie was advised that Waka Kotahi pointed out that the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) was a three-yearly investment package which ensured transport could be delivered nationally, regionally, and on a local authority level.
"The Regional Hawke's Bay was coming to the end of a three-year funding block and unfortunately did not have the funds to get the work done sooner," the agency said.
Waka Kotahi Senior Project Manager Rob Partridge told Hawke's Bay Today the next step was to secure funding for construction when a funding opportunity becomes available.
"We are hopeful that we will be able to secure funding and construct these works within the 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme funding cycle," he said.
"If and when we are able to secure funding for the median barriers, depending on availability of contractors, we would expect to be able to start construction within three to six months."
In the findings McKenzie said the installation of median barriers might help reduce the chances of further deaths occurring in similar circumstances.
In 2020, O'Brien was posthumously named the Hawke's Bay Today Person of the Year after his sporting success, especially in combat sports, sparked him to set others on a path which could create a positive change in their lives.