Fatal crash prompts call for extra safety upgrade

Gary Kircher
Gary Kircher
Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher is calling on the NZ Transport Agency to urgently upgrade the safety of a deadly stretch of State Highway 1.

On February 6, Tane Roderick (42) died when a Toyota Hiace van, driven by Austrian tourist Melanie Giesinger (28), turned into his path at the intersection of State Highway 1 and Hillgrove-Moeraki Rd.

"It was yet another terrible, yet avoidable, incident in that area," Mr Kircher said.

Investigations into the crash are continuing, but Mr Kircher said he would write to NZTA requesting urgent action to make safety improvements in the area, after a discussion with councillors at today’s Waitaki District Council meeting.

"It is my hope that the accident investigation will identify further work to be done to make the area safer," Mr Kircher said.

Mr Kircher would like another rural intersection active warning system (RIAWS) to be installed on either side of the Moeraki village entrance.

In 2017, a RIAWS, with a variable speed limit of 70kmh, was installed at the Moeraki Boulders intersection, 1km north of the village entrance.

That work came after five people died as a result of crashes on State Highway 1 near Moeraki between 2015 and 2016.

"Even if traffic doesn’t slow to that speed [70kmh], it ... raises the alertness level, which is exactly what needs to happen."

A "significant" amount of other work had also been done to improve safety in the area, including simplification of signage and advance warning signs.

"There has been a notable decrease in reported incidents in the area as a result of that work, but sadly that did not help Tane on Waitangi Day," he said.

Further safety improvements, including de-cluttering of signage at the Moeraki village intersection, were important to prevent more tragedies occurring, he said.

rebecca.ryan@odt.co.nz

 

 

 

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