The Government will invest more than $15m into the Bay of Plenty's most dangerous roads as part of its commitment to reducing New Zealand's road roll, Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced today.
More than $15 million worth of safety improvements had been allocated for highways around Rotorua.
The Government announced the $600m Safer Roads and Roadsides Programme which would see safety improvements made on more than 90 high-risk sites on rural State Highways in 14 regions.
It included nearly all high risk roads where there have been five or more fatalities in the last five years.
"Up to $100 million will be invested annually in the programme over six years - $60 million more than is usually invested in road safety improvements. This includes $73.9 million for roads identified as high risk in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions," Mr Bridges said.
"It's forecast that the nationwide programme of roading improvements will result in 900 fewer deaths and serious injuries on our roads over the next ten years.
"It's a significant step up in road safety investment by the Government and reinforces our commitment to reducing death and serious injury crashes on New Zealand roads," he said.
The safety upgrades would target causes of crashes by including a mix of road improvements, realignment of corners in some areas to improve visibility, side barriers, median barriers, rumble strips, wide centrelines, road marking and improved signage.
"I'd like to acknowledge the local National MPs who have been pushing hard for safety improvements to these dangerous stretches of road."
Rotorua MP Todd McClay welcomed the Government's announcement to tackle some of the region's most dangerous roads.
"This is fantastic news for the Rotorua electorate. Investment into upgrading the safety of the highways leading in and out of the city will significantly reduce deaths and serious injuries.
"We know that eight of 10 fatal and serious injury crashes on state highways occur on rural roads and 85 to 90 per cent of those are head on or where the driver runs off the road," Mr McClay said.
State highways in the Rotorua region which will receive safety improvements include, SH33, Te Ngae to Sun Valley; SH33, Sun Valley to Paengaroa; SH5, Tarukenga to Ngongotaha and SH30, Owhata to Te Ngae junction.
The safety upgrades would include a combination of side barriers, rumble strips, wide centre line treatments and median barriers. In some areas corners will be softened to improve visibility and road marking and signage highlighting the road environment will be upgraded.
"Work on the State Highways is due to start during 2017 and will be carried out over the next six years," Mr McClay said.
"Investing more than $15 million into the safety of Rotorua's highways demonstrates the Government's commitment to reducing death and serious injuries crashes on New Zealand roads."