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Thursday, 13 February 2014

Urgent upgrade to SH58 needed

SH58 junction with Transmission Gully, from NZTA
The Haywards Hill road (SH58) from Porirua to Upper Hutt used to be a daily commute for me. So the news yesterday of a major accident and tragically two fatalities on the Haywards brought back a lot of memories of near-misses and years of mucking around over upgrading the road. A quote from the DomPost really drove this home for me:
Mt Cecil resident Jo McCready said: "We are the ones who watch the helicopters land on SH58 and we are the ones who every time we watch our husbands or parents or children go out on that road feel ill when we hear the sirens.

There's been numerous injuries and fatalities over the years - a quick look back shows two cases of major injuries recently in October 2013, two people hospitalised in 2009 following another three-car pile up and a major crash which closed the road in October 2008. It's a dangerous road which is blacklisted by the NZTA.

With work on the long-awaited Transmission Gully route out of Wellington starting this year the need for upgrades to the Haywards has become even more urgent. Transmission Gully will increase the traffic on SH58 as it becomes a major link road for Hutt Valley and Wairarapa residents heading north.

As Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy said, stop-gap measures aren't whats needed here. Adding more safety barriers and speed restrictions is not going to make any difference. A major upgrade of the road is what's needed - and urgently. For both economic development and safety, only major upgrades can deliver a better road for residents on both sides of the hill.