Dangerous intersection should be a priority

The following item was submitted by John Brown:

The May edition of the Otaki Mail contained an excellent article by Tom Frewen about the dangerous state of State Highway 1 between Otaki and Levin. It included mention of the intersection at Waikawa Beach Road and State Highway 1. The article arose from a meeting held In February between Manakau residents and the NZTA to discuss the matter.

The meeting was informed that no further action was proposed at this intersection by NZTA and the present SH 1 would be handed over to the local council when the Otaki to Levin new road was finished about 2030.

Nothing has appeared since 2017 in the Waikawa Beach Ratepayers Newsletters or web site about this intersection and gives the impression that everyone at Waikawa Beach is happy with the safety improvements which were carried out. Discussions with many residents would indicate otherwise.

The Otaki Mail article describes the intersection as a death trap. It was created by NZTA with the removal of the merging lanes and slip lanes when five lanes were reduced to three and recently aggravated when plastic stakes were placed along the centre median strip. NZTA rationale is the model they use is based on some East European or South American design which they believe is correct for New Zealand. I believe the “engineers” employed by NZTA are bereft of any practical or logical ideas on road design or safety.

If you have concerns about this intersection, which NZTA admit is in the top 100 most dangerous in New Zealand, please contact the Ratepayers Association and urge them to move this to the top of their health and safety agenda and get alongside our Manakau neighbours to force some action by NZTA, local and central Government. We can not afford to wait another 10 years and then find that the local body which inherits the road has no money left to make any changes.

The Ōtaki Mail item John refers to, says, in part:

Initial scoping and design, already underway on the investigation phase, according to NZTA’s April update, will include proposals for “stretches of median barrier” on SH1 between the end of the expressway at Taylors Road through to the intersection with SH57 “excluding Manakau and Ohau, where safety improvements have recently been put in place.”

One of these improvements — the removal of a feed-in or shelter lane on SHI for Waikawa Beach Road traffic to turn south into — has actually made that intersection much more dangerous than it was, according to Manakau property owner, Phil Grimmett. Calling it a “death trap”, he says it requires vehicles emerging from Waikawa Beach Rd to interrupt two lanes of traffic to go south to Otaki.

“This is dicing with death,” he says. “A previous ‘improvement’ has exacerbated the situation. There needs to be a redesign of this intersection in the near future. A 10-year delay for real safety improvements is not acceptable.”

There is no mention of this intersection in NZTA’s latest update and, as for the two bridges over the railway line, Manakau resident, Judy Webby, says there is no funding for safety improvements to either of them.

Article text.

The WBRA Committee is always happy for members and others to submit items of concern. Please email wbra.committee@gmail.com or leave a comment below if you have views on this intersection.

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Waikawa Beach or Manakau

New Zealand

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