One of the first elements of the Hawke’s Bay Expressway improvements, a roundabout at the intersection of SH50 and Links Road, was completed in early November when Higgins Contractors put the finishing touches to this section of road with the installation of 1.8kms of Armorwire Wire Road Barrier from CSP Pacific.
The barrier had been in place for just a few short weeks when a 71-year-old man, driving north, blacked out driving around the roundabout. His car collided with the barrier, progressing about 12m before coming to a stop. A witness at the scene told Police that if he hadn’t hit the barrier he would have driven straight into a truck approaching from the opposite direction. The car was completely written off and the driver taken to hospital with minor injuries.
According to an article published by Stuff.co.nz, the Police Officer at the scene said he was extremely grateful for the newly installed barrier and that it certainly saved the driver’s life. The driver reportedly said that he planned to buy a Lotto ticket after his lucky escape.
Hawke’s Bay Expressway improvements
Improvements to the roundabout at SH 50 and Links Road are the first part of a larger project being undertaken by the NZ Transport Agency. The Expressway is a vital link to both Hawke’s Bay’s Airport and the Port of Napier. Between 2008 and 2017 ten people were killed and 46 seriously injured in crashes on this road. Work started on the $36 million programme in January this year with the improvements aimed at reducing crashes and preventing deaths.
NZ Transport Agency has stated that the area is a ‘well-known danger spot’ and had been identified as 19th in the country's 100 most dangerous.
The Transport Minster has said that everyone is capable of making a mistake while driving, and that these safety improvements are designed to ensure that those simple mistakes don’t cost lives.
Armorwire Wire Rope Safety Barrier
Chris Harmer Traffic Manager for Higgins Contractors knows full well that wire rope saves lives. “We completed the installation of 1.8kms of CSP Pacific’s Armorwire Barrier on either side of the new roundabout at the intersection of Links Road and SH50 at the beginning of November,” he says. “It’s an easy system to install and we know it well. Within a week the barrier had been impacted and two weeks after that we could say that a very serious accident was avoided when the gentleman blacked out at the wheel, colliding with the barrier. It goes to show how well this system works.”
“Chris and the Higgins team did a really great job of the installation of our Armorwire at the Hawke’s Bay Expressway,” says Mike Beattie, Sales Engineer for CSP Pacific. “It has certainly done its job since it was installed.”
Safety improvements planned for the Hawke’s Bay Expressway include:
The majority of the safety works included in the programme are scheduled to be completed by December 2019.