How flexible median barrier supports Road to Zero
Waka Kotahi is taking action to improve safety along SH2 between Waihī and Ōmokoroa as it is a high-risk section of road.
While the overall safety improvements remain on track for completion in 2024, during the next three to four years we will also install 14.1km of median barrier along 18km of highway between Rea Road/Tetley Road to Pahoia Road/Esdaile Road.
The median barrier will likely be complete in 2025/2026 and includes construction of six roundabouts along the corridor to enable safe and convenient turning areas.
To achieve the greatest safety benefit for the flexible median safety barriers, we need to have as few gaps as possible. There is no perfect solution that will suit everyone, and we must put the safety of people first, before efficiency and travel time. This does mean those entering the highway from a private access or side road with no roundabout can only turn left.
We understand this is inconvenient to some local residents so to assist with your journey we are constructing six roundabouts at carefully selected intersections between Tetley Road and Esdaile Road.
Roundabouts reduce approach speeds and help allow traffic from side roads to access the highway, but the primary purpose along this section of corridor is to provide a suitable turn around option for drivers once the flexible median barriers are installed.
We will begin installing 1.5km of the first section of flexible median barrier through the Apata Curves later this year.
The next section of barrier will be between Tetley Road and Sharp Road. While we have no firm date for this, we will let you know what to expect closer to construction.
We will also hold drop-in sessions in the coming months to keep you informed.
Why median barrier?
We know that flexible median safety barriers are life savers and can reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured in crashes by 75 percent.
Flexible median barriers catch you before you hit something harder like a pole, tree or oncoming car. They absorb the impact by slowing down your vehicle and keeping it upright. We can all make mistakes, but there are changes we can make so simple mistakes don’t result in us, our family members or friends being killed or seriously injured on our roads.
Did you know motorcyclist are more likely to survive an impact with a flexible safety barrier than an impact with a tree, pole or oncoming vehicle?
NZ motorcycle-barrier crash data from January 2001 to July 2013* shows 20 motorcycle fatalities sustained as a result of riders hitting a roadside or median barrier. Three of these involved flexible safety barriers, while 13 involved traditional steel barriers and other barrier types.
Over the same time period there were 97 motorcyclist fatalities from collisions with posts or poles, 70 from hitting traffic signs and 93 from crashing into trees.
* (NZ Transport Agency/Ministry of Transport report, (July 2016), Flexible Barriers - Why we install wire-rope barriers on New Zealand roads)