23 Jun 2016

Govt to spend $60m a year on 'high risk' roads

6:26 pm on 23 June 2016

An extra $60 million annually to make black spots on rural roads safer will pay for itself in the lives it saves, the Automobile Association says.

Asphalt highway in the South Island.

Photo: 123rf

The programme includes nearly all high-risk roads where there have been five or more fatalities in the last five years.

Transport Minster Simon Bridges said up to $100 million would be spent each year for six years - which he said was $60m more than is usually invested each year in road safety improvements.

It would be used for safety improvements at more than 90 high-risk sites on rural state highways in a nationwide programme to reduce the road toll.

The changes would include improving visibility, installing safety barriers and making road markings and signage better.

AA spokesman Mike Noon said it would make a difference.

"This will help because of course it's on those faster roads, where you do get the fatalities, either the vehicle running off the road, with a single vehicle running off, or you get the head-on," he said.

The government predicted the programme would result in 900 fewer deaths and serious injuries over the next 10 years.

Of that $21.6m a year would go on high risk South Island highways and more than $26.9m on central North Island roads.

Safety upgrades will include 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.

Mr Bridges said eight out of 10 fatal and serious crashes on state highways occurred on rural roads and 85-90 percent of those crashes are head on or where the driver ran off the road.

"The road improvements will make roads more forgiving of human error, helping to reduce the occurrence of crashes in the first place and limiting the severity when they do," he said.

South Island road safety projects:

  • SH1: Invercargill to Moto Rimu Road. Work likely to start late 2016 at a cost of $2 million
  • SH1: Dunedin to Fairfield. Work possibly starting late 2016 at a cost of $3.4m
  • SH7: Waipara to Waikari. Work possibly starting late 2016 at a cost of $1.7m
  • SH88: Dunedin to Port Chalmers. Possible starting mid-2017 at a cost of $3m
  • SH1: Mosgiel to Balclutha. Possible start 2018 at a cost of $8m
  • SH74: Marshlands to Burwood. Possible start late 2017 at a cost of $3.5m
  • SH6: Blenheim to Nelson. Project investigation 2016/17.
  • SH1: Ashley to Belfast. Project investigation 2016/17.
  • SH1: Rakaia to Ashburton. Project investigation 2016/17.
  • SH1: Rangitata. Project investigation 2016/17.
  • SH1: Oamaru to Dunedin. Project investigation 2016/17.

North Island road safety projects:

  • SH57 and SH1 to Shannon. Work due to start late 2016 at a cost of $10.6m
  • SH2: Masterton to Carterton. Work due to start mid 2017 at a cost of $4.3m
  • SH2: Pakipaki to Waipukurau. Work due to start early 2017 at a cost of $8.9m
  • SH2: Wairoa to Bay View. Possible start early 2017 at a cost of $3.1m
  • SH3: Waitara to Bell Block. Project investigation 2016/17.
  • SH3: New Plymouth to Hawera. Project investigation 2016/17.
  • SH3: Wanganui to Whangaehu. Project investigation 2016/17.
  • SH2: Mount Bruce. Project investigation 2016/17.
  • SH2: Rimutaka Hill. Project investigation 2016/17.
  • SH2: Whakatiki St Intersection. Project investigation 2016/17.