$3.5m road safety project completed in North Canterbury

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NZTA has finished a number of upgrades on State Highway 7 between Waipara and Waikari. Photo: NZTA
NZTA has finished a number of upgrades on State Highway 7 between Waipara and Waikari. Photo: NZTA
A high-risk stretch of state highway in North Canterbury has had a $3.5 million safety boost, with new rumble strips, barriers and signage upgrades now in place.

Between 2008 and 2018, one person died and 12 were seriously injured in crashes on State Highway 7, between Waipara and Waikari, where the improvements have been made.

Many of these crashes were caused by drivers losing control and driving off the side of the road.

“This stretch of road is part of a key freight route between Picton and Christchurch,” said New Zealand Transport Agency director regional relationships Jim Harland.

“It gets busy with local people and travellers, particularly around holiday time, as it leads to the turnoff to Hanmer Springs, through to the West Coast and also Nelson and Picton.”

The safety improvements will help prevent people dying or being seriously injured in a crash in the future, he says.

“We have added safety barriers to help stop run-off road crashes and rumble strips to give drivers a wake-up call if they stray across the centre line.

“There are sealed shoulders in front of new safety barriers to give drivers who lose control more room to recover and improved signage to warn drivers of risks such as sharp corners and bridges.”

Mr Harland said NZTA contractors also put in high-performance road markings, which are easier to see at night and in the wet, and improved the safety barriers on the Weka Creek, Antills and Archers bridges.

“The changes we have made on this stretch of highway will make a real difference and will help prevent a simple mistake costing a life or leaving someone seriously injured in the future,” he said.

Downer Canterbury carried out the work, which took more than a year to complete.

This project is part of the Safe Network Programme, a collaborative initiative which aims to prevent up to 160 deaths and serious injuries every year across New Zealand’s highest risk state highways and roads.