• June 2, 2017
The new cable barriers on SH1 are already being credited with saving lives. (Photo: Supplied)
A highway upgrade north of Auckland is proving to be a hit, with many locals voicing their pleasure in a new safety feature.
New flexible-cable barriers have been installed on the northern side of the Brynderwyn Hills on SH1 – a notorious spot for road crashes. Locals have hailed the installation as a ‘game changer’.
The $18 million project, which began in August 2015, has already been credited with helping avoid more than 20 serious crashes.
John Bain, chair of the Regional Transport Committee, said, “The multi-cable barriers divert the traffic away from going head-on into any vehicle that may be going in the opposite direction.”
He said the road was upgraded due to its high crash rate.
“We had a number of fatalities there, that’s why the NZTA thankfully installed the safety barriers.”
Helen O’Flynn, a Northland resident who drives over the Brynderwyn Hills most days thought it was good the barriers had been installed as she felt more protected from on-coming vehicles.
“You see some people doing some crazy speeds at times, so knowing you have the barriers there does make you feel safer.”
Ms O’Flynn said because the new roads had been made wider and easier to drive on, she had only heard good things about the upgrade from fellow residents in the area.
“It feels good. I’m happy that it’s there and it’s definitely an advantage to road safety in the area by having them installed.
“I’ve heard no negative reaction for any of the locals except that it’s taken so long for it to happen. With it being such a high crash area, it would’ve helped if it had been installed earlier so previous crashes could have been avoided.”
The flexible barriers are designed to absorb the impact when vehicles hit them and deflect the impact back in to the lane from where the car came.
According to an NZTA statement, head-on and run-off-the-road crashes account for 75 per cent of crashes on rural state highways.
Thomas Wallace, who frequently uses the stretch of road to visit his Northland bach, also believed the barriers were a welcome solution to the road’s safety.
“NZTA have definitely done what was needed to improve the safety on this road.
“Often I have heard of, and from time to time seen, cars coming down the hill and crossing the centre line because they’re going too fast.”
Mr Wallace said locals he had talked to had also been happy with the new barriers.
“Everyone seems to be happier since the project finished. We’re hoping there will be less avoidable crashes in the area now because of them.”
The barriers, which only feature on this 14km stretch of highway, are not known to be in plans for road safety upgrades elsewhere in the region.