Crash raises safety fears

Roading officials are dismissing concerns about the safety of a Fraser Street bend after a car smashed through a fence into a bank in a speed related crash yesterday.

Two people walked away unharmed after the Toyota Altezza they were in veered off the road onto the footpath becoming wedged between a fence and grass bank near Memorial Park.

The Fraser Street corner members of the public are questioning needs more safety features. Photo: Simon Neate.

The driver, a 28-year-old woman, is likely to face charges pending a police investigation.

Tauranga City Council figures show since 2009 there have been six non-injury crashes, not including yesterdays.

A resident at the scene of yesterday’s crash told SunLive he is concerned about the safety of pedestrians using the footpath along the recommended 45km/h corner.

The resident, who would not be named, says it would be beneficial to install a steel speed barrier along the edge of the road in front of the steel fencing to prevent cars hitting the footpath in the event of crashes, and putting members of the public in immediate danger.

He has previously taken his concerns to council but was told putting a barrier along the roadside curb could potentially increase accidents.

“They [council] said putting the barrier in place would funnel traffic back into the middle of the road towards oncoming traffic; which will cause more head on collisions.”  

Tauranga City Council roading manager Martin Parkes dismisses the safety claims saying council is aware this corner has been an issue in the past and has taken necessary precautions.

“Two years ago we resurfaced the road to improve the skid resistance - this had a positive impact on reducing the number of crashes on the bend.

“However, before committing to any further work I need to understand the circumstances leading up to this most recent incident. I will, therefore, be discussing the matter with the police.”

Western Bay of Plenty Road Policing manager, Senior Sergeant Ian Campion, says wherever there is a high crash risk associated improvements of road safety are investigated thoroughly.

But he says sometimes people are quick to lay blame to the road and seek improvements when in fact the solution is quiet simple – slow down.

Yesterday’s crash is a result of driving too fast in the wet conditions – a far too common occurrence in the Western Bay of Plenty, says Ian.

“People need to adjust their driving to the conditions and I get tired of constantly having to say it. If people don’t slow down to the conditions then they can expect to have issues.

“There are a lot of areas we could say ‘let’s protect the pedestrians’, but in reality, or fiscally, we can’t achieve that.”    


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