Popular tourist routes focus of road safety improvements

  • Tim Macindoe

Work is now underway on dozens of individual road safety projects that aim to make busy South Island tourist routes safer for visiting drivers, Associate Transport Minister Tim Macindoe says.

The improvements are part of the Visiting Drivers Project’s $15 million road safety engineering programme announced in October 2016. A further $10 million has been budgeted through the project for co-investment with local government to support regional works and a visiting drivers education campaign.

Mr Macindoe says work is progressing well on state highways on the West Coast, Otago and Southland, which have some of New Zealand’s highest percentage of crashes involving visiting drivers.

“The road safety works include more no-passing markings, 'Keep Left' arrows, and rumble strips, signage upgrades, new safety barriers, some rest area and car park improvements, and improvements to intersections on key routes.”

A major Otago project now under way will see innovative new motorcycle-protective safety barriers installed at Windy Point on SH6 between Frankton and Kingston. The $720,000 project has been identified as one of more than 30 underway in the first half of this year that aim to improve safety on some key visitor routes. It will be completed by the end of June 2017.

“These improvements are designed to reduce the likelihood of crashes occurring and to minimise the consequences when they do occur. Some of our roads are challenging for drivers unfamiliar with them,” says Mr Macindoe.

“We want to ensure the roads and roadsides in these popular tourist regions support a safe journey and a great experience, with good rest spots and opportunities for photography stops, and increased safety measures to protect all road users when a mistake on the road happens.”

The Visiting Drivers Project aims to improve road safety for all visitors, while maintaining New Zealand’s reputation as an attractive and safe tourist destination. The Project involves a range of organisations including central and local government, the tourism and rental vehicle sectors, and others.

Many of the project’s on-the-ground initiatives (implemented in Otago, Southland and on the West Coast) such as ‘Keep Left’ signs and road lane directional arrow signs have now been replicated by the New Zealand Transport Agency across the country for the benefit of all visiting drivers.

Attached: Full list of Visiting Drivers Project activities and construction dates in Otago, Southland and the West Coast.