Safe-passing option with slow-vehicle bay opening

A slow-vehicle bay has recently been completed on a section of highway between Alexandra and Roxburgh where there have been several ''close calls'' as road users tried to overtake slow vehicles up the hill.

''I'm not aware of any crashes there, but it's a site that was waiting for a crash,'' New Zealand Transport Agency Central Otago manager John Jarvis said this week. The slow-vehicle bay up the hill near Gorge Creek should improve safety, especially with traffic volumes increasing over the holiday period, he said. ''Visibility wasn't that good and there was a bit of confusion for people. There have been close calls there - I've seen some myself - as trucks and slow-moving traffic pulled over and vehicles got right over the centre line to overtake, but there wasn't enough safe room.''

Work to widen the road for the passing bay was tied in with resealing that section of State Highway 8. The total project cost for widening and resealing work was about $100,000.

''There's not very many passing opportunities between Roxburgh and Alexandra and this gives traffic a chance to pass safely. There was always a pinch point coming up that hill as heavy traffic and towing traffic slowed down and vehicles tried to overtake.

''Now, all slower vehicles, trucks and towing vehicles will be able to ease into that bay to allow the other traffic to go past in a safe manner. We've made a considerable effort to get it completed before the holiday traffic starts, especially as there'll be lots of vehicles heading to Central Otago towing boats and caravans,'' Mr Jarvis said.

- lynda.van.kempen@odt.co.nz