Retired Whangarei roading engineer/consultant Dave Murray said he would never forgive himself if a child died and he had not tried to make changes to what he saw as dangerous "safety improvement" work on a pedestrian crossing on State Highway 1 at Otaika.

So Mr Murray embarked on a campaign - including an article in the Northern Advocate that got plenty of support - writing to Transport Minister Simon Bridges and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) highlighting his concerns.

Now NZTA has agreed his concerns are valid and the national state highway roading body will make changes to the crossing early this year.

Last year, NZTA introduced a number of safety initiatives at the crossing opposite the Otaika shops to reduce the number of pedestrians hit by cars while not using the pedestrian crossing, including putting up a fence next to the north-bound lane.


But Mr Murray said the safety issues created by the fence - including youngsters and those in wheelchairs waiting to cross not been seen by traffic - required urgent remedial action, hence his campaign. "As a retired roading engineer and consultant, and as somebody who has had their own traffic light company, I could not live with myself if somebody had died because of the fence at that crossing and I had not done anything," he said.

So he started his campaign and last month got a response to his concerns from NZTA chief executive Geoff Dangerfield, acknowledging his concern over the fence was valid.

"The barrier fence was designed to maximise sight distances without impeding the safe travel of cyclists. While the barrier fence has been effective in preventing pedestrians crossing at other points along the road, a built-out kerb, as you suggest, would mean pedestrians and drivers were more visible to each other," Mr Dangerfield said.

"We plan to install one in early 2015. Many of your other suggestions have merit and we are assessing them to identify the most feasible options. Thank you again for raising these matters with me."

Mr Murray said it looked like he was at last going to get some action on the crossing and it was good to know that the authorities would listen. "We can only hope there are no unfortunate incidents in the meantime," he said.

While the Northern Advocate was getting a photograph of Mr Murray at the crossing, a woman had to step back from using the crossing as a car did not see her approaching and there was a near miss, with the woman yelling at the driver for not spotting her.

"Did you see that, he nearly hit me?" the woman said.

"See that's what I was talking about," Mr Murray said.


Mr Murray - who has been a traffic engineer for Auckland and North Shore city councils - said he had a few more roading issues that he wanted dealt with in Whangarei, including putting in a few more roundabouts, and would try to get action on some of those this year.