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Dangerous road a “disgrace”

Dangerous road a “disgrace”

NZ Truck & Driver News

 August 2020   

The deadly Napier-Taupo road has been slammed as “a national disgrace” by Road Transport Forum CEO Nick Leggett.

In the past 12 months, he says, eight people have died on State Highway 5, which connects the central North Island with Hawke’s Bay and, importantly, Napier Port.

Leggett recently drove the road in company with Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst, deputy mayor Tania Kerr, and truck driver Antony Alexander, and was disturbed with what he saw: “At points where there have been fatal accidents we stopped and observed how vehicles handled potholes and the uneven surface.

“Not to put too fine a point on it, the surface is rubbish, Both in summer and in winter, it lacks traction, making it like an ice rink for cars and trucks. This is down to the engineering and design of the road surface. 

“It has been so patched up it looks like a patchwork quilt, and this makes the surface even more dangerous, as vehicles bounce around and drivers lose control.

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The deadly Napier-Taupo road has been slammed as “a national disgrace” by Road Transport Forum CEO Nick Leggett.
In the past 12 months, he says, eight people have died on State Highway 5, which connects the central North Island with Hawke’s Bay and, importantly, Napier Port.
Leggett recently drove the road in company with Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst, deputy mayor Tania Kerr, and truck driver Antony Alexander, and was disturbed with what he saw: “At points where there have been fatal accidents we stopped and observed how vehicles handled potholes and the uneven surface.
“Not to put too fine a point on it, the surface is rubbish, Both in summer and in winter, it lacks traction, making it like an ice rink for cars and trucks. This is down to the engineering and design of the road surface. 
“It has been so patched up it looks like a patchwork quilt, and this makes the surface even more dangerous, as vehicles bounce around and drivers lose control.
“The type of seal used is affected by the temperature variations the area experiences. Using the inappropriate bitumen mix is a primary contributor to flushing and the chip seal not sticking to the base.”
The lack of adequate runoff areas on the road, poor shoulder design, and steep shoulder gradients often exacerbate the problem for trucks that might arrive suddenly at an accident  scene and are forced to take evasive action, he adds.
The RTF has drawn the attention of local New Zealand Transport Agency representatives to the situation on many occasions, and has even written directly to the Minister of Transport – so far to no effect, says Leggett: “We are calling for NZTA, as a priority, to concentrate on resealing SH5 and, where required, redesigning dangerous parts of the road.”  

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