For five years, Waka Kotahi’s unwillingness to move a speed reduction sign has maintained a source of frustration.
In 2017, Waipā District councillor Susan O’Regan contacted Waka Kotahi (then named the Land Transport Agency) to voice the concerns of Ōhaupō residents, who deemed the Kaipaki/ Ōhaupō Road intersection to be unsafe.
Their concerns were, and still are, that the 70kmh speed reduction signs are placed in a way that makes the intersection a 100kmh zone. Residents also claim that the size and proximity of the speed reduction signs block the view of traffic from the left to road users turning from Kaipaki Road.
Residents have proposed the speed reduction signs be moved a few hundred metres, so the intersection is no longer obscured or 100kmh.
“I thought it was a sensible, simple and cost-effective solution for a problem they were facing. However there have been so many changes of staff and changes in programmes or direction in the Agency the issue was largely forgotten about by 2019 when they stopped emailing me,” O’Regan said.
O’Regan brought up the matter again in February and spoke to Waka Kotahi staff who were presenting to the Waipā District Council. She followed this up with two emails but has yet to receive any response.
Waka Kotahi’s regional manager of maintenance and operations, Rob Campbell, said there had been two serious crashes involving the intersection in the past 10 years.
“Any serious crash is one too many,” he said. “However, there are a large number of important safety projects around the country, and we need to prioritise the timing of these so we can make the biggest difference in reducing deaths and serious injuries.”
O’Regan called this metric of safety “crude.”
“We have locals saying it is actually quite dangerous here, and they’re clearly not listening.”
O’Regan said that although Waka Kotahi only recognises two serious crashes in the area, there are likely many near misses that are not reported.
“The reality is, if the residents are feeling unsafe, and presumably are experiencing lots of near misses, isn’t that a better measure than what they perceive as being just a couple of accidents.”