An often under-fire Napier City Council is stacking-up some brownie points after starting without-delay roadworks to improve safety in streets near Napier Boys' High School.

The work started on Wednesday, just three months after principal Matt Bertram told the council of the dangers on Chambers St, and just a week after he was told of the plans.

City council senior transportation engineer Tony Mills said it's the most urgent project he's seen in more than 20 years in the road planning field.

Bertram said that when he conjectured the work might take place early next year and was told it would straightaway "I almost fell off my chair".


The first stage rapidly taking shape is the raising of the platform of the intersection where urban Chambers St meets rural Willowbank Ave at the Geddis Ave entrance to Maraenui.

Mills said it will be completed today.

Other speed calming measures in the plan include traffic islands, raised crossings near the school and improved speed signage.

Fearing someone might be killed if action wasn't taken quickly, Bertram told the council at the start of this year of his worries in a submission on a list of sites for the lowering of speed limits, which did not include the Willowbank Ave approach.

In a Hawke's Bay Today story on February 25 he said the school "strongly opposes the current speed limits on Willowbank Ave, leading into Chambers St from the south".

"We also deplore the lack of traffic calming measures on this stretch of road. This should be included in the council's proposals."

Mills said speed monitoring throughout March at two sites in the 50km/h zone of Chambers St, where dozens of students park vehicles during the day, produced "quite alarming" results, with speeds of 70km/h to over 100km/h recorded almost every hour.

Some vehicles were travelling past the school at well over 110km/h.


He said realising it had become a No 1 priority he took the evidence to his "director" who responded: "Get it sorted straightaway."

Roading contractors Higgins scheduled to do work in the area managed to fit in "some spare time" to do the upgrades at short notice.