Guidance needed at Otaihanga
Story by Roger Childs with photos and additional research from Ian Linning
The building of the roundabout at the busy Otaihanga turn-off on State Highway One was long overdue. With just a small section of new surfacing to be done on the approach from Paraparaumu, the project is almost complete. But what speed should you do on the roundabout? 40kph would be safe, but there are no speed signs coming from the north or south. At least three expressway trucks have had accidents negotiating the new layout and these may have occurred because they were going too fast.
Inconsistency on speed limits
- Going north from Paraparaumu the last speed limit sign is 80kph and this is over a kilometre before the turnoff to Otaihanga.
- Coming from Otaihanga over the railway line, again the last sign says 80kph. (Photo alongside.)
- Approaching from Waikanae the speed limit is 80kph after the rise from the under the railway bridge. However there are large signs saying SLOW DOWN as you approach the roundabout. Does this mean slow down to 70 or 60 or 50?
The reality is that there are no limits indicated on State Highway One to provide guidance on a safe speed for the roundabout. Doing 70 or 80 is asking for trouble and a nasty accident, however a motorist would not be breaking the speed limit in doing so.
Meanwhile coming north out of Waikanae the speed limit is 50kph even though there are no driveways or side roads on this section of SH1. On the pillar of the rail bridge it reiterates the 50kph which makes no sense on this straightforward piece of highway. (See the photo alongside.) Then at the top of the rise just before the first side road the speed limit changes to 80!
Safety on the roundabout
Now that the roundabout is in place, complete with extensive plantings and new footpaths, there is a need for realistic speed limits to make the busy junction safe. 50kph would be sensible.