NZTA pushes ahead with SH2 median barriers

SH2 residents have been vocal about their thoughts on median barriers being installed on the highway, including recently painting messages on the road. Photo: John Borren.


Work on installing median barriers to prevent right-hand turns on State Highway 2, between Waihī and Ōmokoroa, is going ahead as planned.

In response to community unease about the median barrier installation, NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi says it paused the work “to consider concerns” raised by residents in the area.

Residents of roads adjacent to SH2 are strongly opposed to the median barriers going ahead.

The barriers will prevent right hand turns onto residential roads including Work Rd and Lund Rd – meaning “another seven kilometres” of travel says, former Western Bay of Plenty District Councillor and resident of a Work Rd side road, Mike Williams.

In recent weeks, locals have been vocal about their thoughts on the roading project.

A rolling protest was held on June 9, where a people donned their vehicles with signs and drove down the highway. And some people have spraypainted over road markings on SH2, which prompted NZTA to issue a safety warning.

NZTA regional relationships director David Speirs says the decision has now been made to proceed as planned, with installation of median barrier on the 1.4km section between Morton Rd and Aongatete River bridge, Work will be underway for the next few weeks.

“We understand that convenience and travel time are important to people as they move about and appreciate that there are concerns for emergency service vehicle access and community connections. 

“This project has undergone several stages of public and stakeholder consultation, including open days, meetings with landowners, hui with iwi and conversations with emergency services.”

David says feedback and suggestions from the community were incorporated where practical.

He says safety improvements between Waihī and Ōmokoroa are 75 per cent complete, with four of six roundabouts built, and the fifth in construction, providing safe turnaround areas ahead of barriers being installed, with 3.8km of median barriers already installed north of Katikati. 

“Every day, 15,000 vehicles travel along this road – and that figure is growing by around 2-3 per cent each year.  

“The installation of flexible median barriers, combined with the improvement works already undertaken, are aimed at reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on this section of SH2 by 75 per cent.”

David says everybody travelling on SH2 deserves to get where they’re going safely.

“There will be adequate space between the guardrail at the edge of the road and the barrier in the centre, allowing room for emergency services to get past in an emergency and to make u-turns where there are gaps in the barrier.

“Fewer serious crashes will also mean fewer road closures for SH2 users in the future.”

David says following recent vandalism of SH2, last week, one of the NZTA crew was confronted by a member of the public who drove between the cones and parked in the work zone and was abusive and aggressive.

“This, and several other examples of unacceptable behaviour, have been reported to NZ Police.

“We ask that road users respect the crew as they get on with the job. You don’t have to agree with us, but the online and onsite treatment our staff and contractors have faced is not acceptable.” 

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