Roadworks speeders spark safety fears

Roadworks on State Highway 1 at Evansdale north of Dunedin. Photo: NZTA
Roadworks on State Highway 1 at Evansdale north of Dunedin. Photo: NZTA
Speeding drivers are prompting fears for the safety of road users and workers at roadworks sites in the South.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency said roading contractors have raised concerns about a "significant increase" in drivers ignoring posted speed limits at southern roadworks sites in the last few months. 

The agency said there had also been recent evidence of night-time crashes, where vehicles have hit steel guardrail barriers due to excessive speed in areas still under repair or freshly sealed.

“This behaviour is a significant safety issue for our workers, for the drivers themselves and all other road users," Waka Kotahi Journey Manager for the lower South Island Peter Brown said.

“Everyone deserves to get home safely to their family and friends after a hard day’s work often in hot and uncomfortable conditions and that includes all our traffic management and roading repair crews,” he said.

Contractor concerns were raised with police, who said a number of motorists, some travelling far in excess of the temporary speed limit, had been stopped in recent days.

“This has resulted in simple education for most drivers but, in some instances, infringement notices have been necessary,”  District Road Policing Manager Inspector Amelia Steel said.

Mr Brown acknowledged that multiple road works sites encountered on a journey could be frustrating, but drivers still needed to be patient and comply with speed restrictions.

Even where sites had no staff actively working on them, reduced speed limits were there to protect the road surface where it was newly sealed and prevent unnecessary damage to vehicles.



Of COURSE people ignore the signs. Most of the time the 30km/h limit is ridiculous and quite often the roadworks are long gone but the signs are still there. It doesn't take many false alarms to teach drivers that the signs are misleading and can most often usefully be ignored.

Flatplatypus, that is exactly what I was thinking as I read the article too. 9 times out of 10 there is no damage to the road surface, no workers and a few cones on the side of the road. 30km/hr is significantly slower than 100 and for most of the time, for nothing.

Do you think what you see is the whole situation? We don't own the highway.

And who polices the contractors? This problem is their own doing due to the many "Boy who cried wolf" sites that proliferate. Traffic management at a site is managed by a certificated Site Traffic Management Supervisor (STMS). A STMS will usually be managing multiple sites each day. They cannot be everywhere at once, so they will set up sites hours before work is carried out (sometimes they set up the previous day). For same reason, sites will still be under restrictions hours or days after they are safe for normal traffic to resume. So what road users see is phantom site after phantom site. Road users are not stupid - they know when restrictions are genuinely needed and when a site is just another "boy crying wolf". No-one polices the contractors or the traffic management companies so this problem goes unchecked and phantom sites are everywhere. Mr Brown of NZTA (Waka Kotahi) needs to take a long, hard look at his own organisation's role in creating this problem because they are the Road Controlling Authority (RCA) for state highways. Motorists need to take photos of phantom sites and make written complaints to the relevant RCA. ODT investigation needed into this matter, I think!







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