Road safety improvements urgently needed in Northland

  • 19 Jan

Road safety improvements are required in Northland, including State Highway 1, despite Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s reluctance to four lane the road between Warkworth and Whangarei.

“We are concerned the safety improvements around the SH1 and SH15 loop road and the proposed roundabout at that junction will be lost,” said David Aitken, the CEO of the National Road Carriers.

The single lane roundabout just south of Whangarei would formalise the connection between State Highway 1 & 15 and address freight efficiency and improve safety.

Mr Aitken said he was pleased to see the Northland Regional Transport Committee supported the widening of State Highway 1 for its safety, regional development, economic and freight benefits.

“The roads are not fit for purpose, for the volume and type of vehicles they carry,” said Mr Aitken. “Motorists often get agitated when trucks can’t pull over to let them pass, which leads to unsafe overtaking manoeuvres.”

Ms Ardern has said the widening of SH1 between Warkworth and Whangarei had only been proposed by the National Party during last year’s election campaign and does not exist in the New Zealand Transport Agency’s planning.

She indicated the new Government was more disposed to investing in regional roads, a plan welcomed by the NRC, however State Highway projects must also be prioritised.

“Trucks often have to fight to stay on the road due to poor bridge approaches, lack of shoulders and corrugations which cause the truck to bounce,” said Mr Aitken.

“Axing the four-lane SH1 proposal will also mean the heavily trafficked commuter run between Whangarei and Ruakaka and Northport at Marsden Point will not be up-graded.”

He said the NRC welcomed the sealing of six sections of Wright and McCardle Roads near Pipiwai, north west of Whangarei to reduce the dust nuisance caused by forestry operations and logging trucks. The $1.3 million project is being jointly funded by the NZTA and the Whangarei District Council.

Mr Aitken said that at the very least the NRC wanted to see a lot more focus on the quality of road repairs, shoulders and slow vehicle pull over lanes added to SH1, particularly on the hilly climbs so trucks could let other traffic past safely.

The NRC will be making submissions to the Northland Regional Transport Plan for key projects and safety up to 2021 and continues to stay in touch with the NZTA and Government on roading issues.

National Road Carriers is the largest nationwide organisation representing companies involved in the road transport industry. It has 1700 members, who collectively operate 15,000 trucks throughout New Zealand.