The Methven community will be celebrating a win, with Waka Kotahi set to reduce the speed in the northern entrance to the town.
The speed reduction, and other proposed safety improvements along State Highway 77, were reported to the Methven Community Board by Waka Kotahi regional senior safety engineer James Long this week.
Lowering the speed past Ōpuke hot pools has been high on the community’s agenda, pushing for a reduction from 100kph along the stretch of SH77 on the northern entrance to the township.
Waka Kotahi consulted on a reduction to 80kph, which was “unsurprisingly” deemed inappropriate in the feedback, Long said.
It has instead resulted in a reduction to 60kph, but he was unable to confirm when it would be changed.
Deputy Mayor and Methven resident Liz McMillan is delighted at the decision.
“I walk along that area often and see how much the new footpath is used and when the speed is finally reduced to 60km it will be so much safer and a big win for our community.”
Long also covered the school variable speed zones and possible improvements to the pedestrian crossing and the SH77/Forest Drive/Methven-Chertsey Road intersection.
McMillan and school principals had met with Long at the pedestrian crossing that services all three schools in the town earlier this year to discuss safety issues.
The result will be the removal of some car parks to increase visibility as well as a recommendation to raise the crossing, which reduces speeds to avoid a “catastrophic outcome”, Long said.
The pedestrian crossing will also benefit from a variable 30kph speed zone that will be introduced in the next 12 months.
The speed will reduce to 30kph, from 50kph, for a small period at the start and end of the school day, with the zone stretching from around Dolma Street to just north of the pedestrian crossing, Long said.
The other area being considered for safety improvements in the future is the town’s main intersection.
Rather than the current cross roads, it will be recommended a small roundabout may function better, Long said.
A potential new pedestrian crossing in the centre of town is also being proposed.
The roundabout and pedestrian crossing have been added to the list to be considered for the next National Land Transport Programme.
Methven Community Board member Richie Owen supported looking at the safety initiatives as the increasing road usage as the town develops means some of the road layouts may be out of date.
- By Jonathan Leask