In a span of five years, the stretch of road from Katikati to Tauranga saw 18 deaths – the highest death toll of the state highways listed as New Zealand's most dangerous.
According to the data from New Zealand Transport Agency, there were also 35 serious injuries and 95 minor injuries on that section of State
Highway 2 from 2012 to 2016, the NZ Herald
The report said that 39% of New Zealand's state highways rated two-star, the second-lowest safety standard, although there were no highways that rated one-star.
Terry Molloy, chairman of the AA's Bay of Plenty/Coromandel board, said the Katikati-to-Tauranga route is an extremely dangerous highway.
"Largely because of the rapid build-up of traffic, and yes it is a problem but there is a lot of work being done," he told the NZ Herald
. "All of these things are often a little too late but unfortunately that's a fact of life, so we've just got to try and keep the pressure on to keep them moving otherwise they will sit, they will drag.”
"There's no doubt it is a treacherous stretch of road through State
Highway 2 into Tauranga, and that's why the government decided last year to make one of the biggest nationwide investments we're making in this route,” Tauranga MP and Minister of Transport Simon Bridges told the Bay of Plenty Times
The transport agency said that Safer Roads, a government road safety programme which included State
Highway 2 from Waihi to Tauranga, would improve safety on about 100km of state highways per year.
According to the NZ Herald
, the agency's director of safety and environment, Harry Wilson, said the goal was to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on State
Highway 2 from Waihi to Tauranga by 50%, and to improve the road's star rating.
"This programme covers the next 10 to 15 years. Some more immediate solutions are also being considered and we will speak with the community about these once they are finalised,” Wilson said.
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