Some ratepayers have recently been in touch with NZTA regarding the plans of the proposed road works at the junction of Waikawa Beach Road and State Highway 1 work on which is to start shortly. The plans lacked clarity and when zoomed where of an inferior definition and could not be read.
In answer to a question from a ratepayer about lack of consultation they replied:-
These safety improvements through Ohau are part of the wider project investigating options for the route between Otaki and Levin and are considered short/medium term measures until the long term proposals are approved. As such, these improvements do not require a formal approval process under the RMA and therefore no formal submissions have been sought. We have however liaised with property owners and held Open days for the project as a whole, where many of the issues were discussed and addressed.
So there we go. They were confused where Manakau is as it refers to Ohau which was repeated when the money wasting signs were put up on the main road called it Manukau until it was hastily taped out after complaints.
The Association asked questions from NZTA and received some answers.
For traffic from south, the exit lane is very short and braking from 80 kph to make a sharp left turn into Waikawa will cause frustration to through traffic. Could the present shoulder from the shop be marked as an exit lane?
We have to be conscious that left turning vehicles do not mask the presence of vehicle behind them, which can lead to a vehicle turning out of Waikawa Beach Road when it is not safe to do so, and a collision occurring between the vehicle turning out of the side road, and the vehicle following the vehicle turning left into Waikawa Beach Road.
Traffic exiting Waikawa Beach proceeding north has no space to increase speed to 80 kph and so merge. Can a lane be marked on the present hatch painted shoulder?
The left turn out is not a merge, it is a standard priority intersection (as is currently the case). The left turn out should not be treated as a merge as it is not safe. Instead a vehicle waiting to turn left out of Waikawa Beach Road should wait until there is a suitable gap in traffic to turn out and accelerate to the operating speed of the road.
Traffic from north turning right into Waikawa Beach has a small holding lane but can this could be lengthened to allow for slowing down and also to accommodate the number of vehicles that sometime accumulate when there is heavy northbound traffic?
This right turn bay will be lengthened substantially (to over 60m). With the removal of the passing lane and speed limit reduction, this is a safer intersection form because it removes the need for vehicles wishing to turn right into Waikawa Beach Road from having to decelerate in the overtaking lane of the passing lane, as is currently the case.
Traffic exiting Waikawa heading south has no lane to increase speed to 80 kph so they can merge.
As the passing lane is being removed at this location, and the speed through this section reduced to 80 km/h, there is an opportunity to provide a safer layout for drivers turning out of Waikawa Beach Road when a suitable gaps exists. A turning area and 3m wide median will be provided using road markings. This is shown below. This is a preferred layout because it removes the issue of much slower vehicles turning out of Waikawa Beach Road needing to merge in with faster vehicles in the overtaking lane.
Some of these answers seem strange particularly the reasoning about merging.
A further email was sent seeking answers to unanswered questions but to date no answer has been received.
These questions were
1. What was the official attitude on painted hatched areas particularly the centre median strip. If it is legal to use this area why not paint proper lanes on it including a double yellow line. If they can be used as merging or exit lanes but you refuse to mark the lanes, who would have the right of way viz traffic from Waikawa proceeding to south or traffic from Manakau proceeding north and both using the centre median,
2. Could the present stop line at the junction from Waikawa Beach be moved closer to the SH1 as a wide power pole presently masks vision to the south.
3. There appears to be no provision for an exit/holding lane into Manakau from the north which could result in massive congestion when a train is parked over the railway crossing as often occurs.
As reported in last Friday’s Horowhenua Chronicle, Ohau residents have expressed similar concerns.
The attitude of NZTA appears to be this is how it is done according to our advisors and you people know nothing. Did the same advisors also plan the three small diameter roundabouts on SH1 at Paremata, Plimmerton and Otaihanga, or the various efforts at resealing SH1 north bound lanes at the top of the Ngauranga Gorge or the wrongly positioned traffic lights at Otaki. The latest folly of installing a kerb on SH1 between Kimberly Road and Ohau makes one wonder if NZTA is a major shareholder in the cone factory.
01 April 2015
Since the above was posted we have received the following. Answers in itallics
Thankyou for the answers to our questions which disappoints me as no doubt will many residents of our community.
However, not all my questions were answered. In some countries the road rules do not permit driving on painted hatching In NZ, driving on hatched shoulder markings is permitted. I presume this is not true in New Zealand as you imply that in answer to question 1 by saying “it can” and if it can why not paint it as an exit lane. It will be provided as a sealed shoulder to support lower traffic speeds and, as previously stated, avoid the issue of a following vehicle being masked . This lane would also benefit the many people who shop at the store and then proceed to Waikawa.
The problem you raise regarding blocked visibility could be solved if the line marking where to wait when exiting Waikawa was moved closer to the SH1. This is nationally stipulated and will be 1.5m from the continuity line through the intersection. From this position, through traffic proceeding north could easily be seen outside a proposed exit lane This has been checked and a turning vehicle can block the visibility splay (for a vehicle waiting to turn onto SH1) to a following vehicle . Moving the line would also solve the present blocked visibility cause by a large lamp post. I can envisage with your proposal exiting vehicles moving out once they see an indicator light knowing that all traffic would have to slow down to about 20 kph behind the exiting vehicle. The slowing of traffic throughout Manakau is a desired outcome of the changes.
If we can drive on the hatch painted shoulder can we also drive on the hatch painted median? Yes, in certain circumstances as defined in the Land Transport Rule If so who has the right of way when a vehicle exiting Waikawa heading south and a vehicle exiting Manakau heading north are both using this median to build up speed? No one specifically has ‘right of way’ – the Road Code and Rule stipulates when drivers can use the flush median In some similar situations double yellow lines mark the median boundary, first on one side and then the other so that each exit lane or bay, as you call it, has sufficient length to increase speed.
With no exit lane for Manakau traffic coming from Levin, serious congestion will occur when trains are stopped on the crossing which occurs frequently as it is a crossing loop For the left turn into Mokena Kohere Street, a wider taper is still provided, for the reasons you have identified.