High tech approach to improve safety on SH1 at Moeraki Boulders

  • Tim Macindoe

Associate Minister of Transport Tim Macindoe welcomes a new high tech warning system, which will help to improve road safety, has been installed on State Highway 1 in the Waitaki District.

The new Rural Intersection Active Warning System at the turnoff to Moeraki Boulders, off State Highway 1, is now operational and the variable speed limit is now legally enforceable.

“The new warning system is able to detect vehicles approaching the right turning bay at Moeraki Boulders Road and vehicles waiting to turn back on to the highway, and automatically adjusts the speed limit in the area to 70km/h to allow the approaching car to merge safely with oncoming traffic,” says Mr Macindoe. 

The 70km/h variable speed limit will apply 170 metres either side of the SH1/Moeraki Boulders Road.

“The variable speed limit will help to reduce the severity of crashes at the Moeraki Boulders turnoff by lowering the speed of highway traffic when necessary for the safety of other road users, while maintaining the current 100km/h speed limits when the intersection is not in use. This high tech system is a great alternative for all drivers in the region when compared with permanently reducing the speed limit in the area,” says Mr Macindoe.

“The speed limit change was consulted on in April and more than two-thirds of those who provided feedback supported a variable speed limit.”

The New Zealand Transport Agency is also working with the Waitaki District Council to review advertising signage in the Moeraki area. The Moeraki business community will also be involved in this process.

These advance works at Moeraki – the electronic variable speed signs and the signage review - are all part of a wider programme of safety improvements being proposed along SH1 between the Waitaki River Bridge, north of Oamaru, and Dunedin.

“Between 2006 and 2015 there were 21 deaths and 114 serious injuries on this stretch of the road. While road safety is everybody’s responsibility, the government is committed to making these roads and roadsides safer to help prevent further tragedies.”

Engagement with key stakeholder groups, including community representatives, is underway in regards to the wider safety programme, which involves looking at a range of proven safety measures and determining how targeted measures will reduce the number of serious injury and fatality crashes on this highway.

“This project, worth between $3 million and $5 million, is part of the government’s nationwide $600 million safer road and roadsides programme to create safer journeys by reducing the numbers of deaths and serious injuries on our roads through the Safe System approach,” says Mr Macindoe.

See an example of how a Rural Intersection Active Warning System intersection works in Southland here.