If you’re planning on a short road trip or holiday to the Northland region here’s something that may help you plan your route.
The Northern Advocate has published a list of the regions worst roads, identified in an AA “KiwiRap” survey (we mentioned the report here if you want to read more about it) saying:
“The most dangerous piece of road in Northland is a 22km stretch of highway in the Bay of Islands. A new study has revealed Northland’s deadliest roads are some of the most dangerous in the country…
The study gave two stars to the 22km stretch of State Highway between Kawakawa and Paihia and identified it as the as the most hazardous in the region…
State Highway 14 from Whangarei to Dargaville also earned 2 stars as did SH11 from Puketona Junction to Paihia (ed. see street view below)
(and “Move junction to end deaths, locals say” – Northland’s most treacherous intersection)
Other to be blacklisted were some section of SH10 from Paihia to Kaitaia and SH12 between Kaikohe and Dargaville.
A continuous stretch of SH1 north of Whangarei also gained a 2 star rating…
Inspector Clifford Paxton said Northland roads were narrow, winding, undulating and very unforgiving. There were often little or no shoulders on the side of the road and plenty of obstacles that were killers including powerpoles, trees, ditches and steep banks.
“If you leave the road at 100km/h the chances of your survival are slim,” Mr Paxton said. read more here
We’ve often written about NZ’s dangerous roads, which claim (per head of population) twice as many lives a year as Britain’s, many of them visitors. The situation is so bad that the British Foreign and Commonwealth Offices has issued an advisory about the risks.
No roads in New Zealand achieved 5 stars in the KiwiRap survey and only 4% were awarded 4 stars. 39% were judged as 2 stars meaning they had major deficiencies such as poor alignment and roadside conditions.
Roads for which the entire length of highway was rated at the lowest safety rating of two stars included SH24 and SH39 in the Waikato, SH17 in Auckland, SH58 in Wellington, SH62 in Marlborough, SH71 in Canterbury, SH8B and SH88 in Otago, SH98 in Southland and SH67A on the West Coast.
In October of 2009 we blogged about some of the country’s blackspots, showing Google’s street views, so that drivers unfamiliar with NZ roads could learn to identify the hazards and take extra care. You can find it HERE, or HERE
One particularly tragic death was that of Eva Kosanic, a 22 year old French student who lay undiscovered in her car for two days after it hit a tree and plunged down a bank in Broadwood, 48km south east of Kaitaia in Northland. She had been driving to Auckland to catch a flight back to Christchurch where she was an intern at Environmental Science and Research, and was due to return to France in the near future.
When she died in October 2009 her death was the 25th on Northland’s roads that year.
Now that the list has been published it should shame local councils into upgrading some of the roads to make them safer. If they don’t they are morally responsible for every single death on them from now on.