Rural road safety to be tackled

TACKLING SAFETY: Too many accidents have occurred on south-eastern rural roads, leading to a significant investment from AT to improve safety along those routes. Photo supplied.

BY MARIANNE KELLY

A high accident rate on south-eastern rural roads has prompted Auckland Transport (AT) to allocate $6 million to improve them over time.

The project, called Self-Explaining Rural Roads (SERR) covers about 130 kilometres of roads, mainly in the Whitford, Maraetai and Clevedon areas.

AT says the area was chosen as it has some of the highest rural road risks in the Auckland region. Between 2012 and 2016 there were six fatal, 44 serious and 198 minor injury crashes.

Many of the measures to be taken are in the final design stage, an AT spokesperson says. It’s anticipated that improvements will be introduced in the next financial year, subject to funding.

Before the work starts AT will talk to local stakeholders about the exact details of each project.

The measures include rationalising existing signage and improving destination signs and those on curves.

Road markings will be improved, including the introduction of a wide centre line where feasible.

Gateway treatments at approaches to villages will be made consistent and safety barriers will be installed at a few locations.

Shape corrections will be introduced on Brookby and North Roads and safe cycle bays will also be installed on North Road.

AT says the SERR approach concentrates on three key principles – functionality, homogeneity and predictability.

Functionality requires the creation of a few well-defined road categories and ensuring that the road design matches its intended function, while promoting appropriate road user behaviour and reducing error.

Homogeneity involves road designs that promote equilibrium and vehicle speed, direction and mass equality.

While this can be a challenge on rural roads, AT says speed variability is a significant factor in fatality rates on rural roads.

Predictability involves keeping the road design and layout as uniform as possible.