Theft puts lives at risk

The Hurunui District Council is appalled at the recent theft of safety equipment from a construction site in the district.

One of the Portable Traffic Signal (PTS) units being used to manage traffic flow along the Amberley Beach Road, during widening and reshaping of the intersection with Hursley Terrace, was taken overnight on Thursday April 21st/Friday April 22nd.

Hurunui District Council Roading Team Leader B. McManus says the theft could have resulted in tragedy.

“The PTS unit was being employed to ensure the safe movement of vehicles along a narrow section of roadway where heavy machinery is working. Removing it left motorists exposed to the potential for a collision with a site based plant or another vehicle, which could have been disastrous.

“It beggars belief someone would recklessly endanger people’s lives with such an irresponsible act, especially during the nationwide Easter Road Safety crackdown, where all of us are focused on safety on the roads.”

Blakely Construction’s Contract Manager, Ashby Brown, is appealing for those responsible to return the portable traffic signal unit.

“It is of great concern to us that anyone would have such little regard for road safety they would remove a critical piece of traffic control equipment, and especially over a long and busy weekend.

“While it’s an expensive piece of equipment to buy, it has little salvage value. It is useless to anyone else but invaluable to us in facilitating the safe movement of vehicles through our site. We’d like it back and fast.”

It may take some time for a replacement PTS unit to be obtained, which Mr McManus says is only likely to further inconvenience motorists heading to and from Amberley Beach.

“Delays are inevitable during the key infrastructure works, but the contractors are doing their best to minimise these, despite the loss of this key piece of equipment, and we can only apologise and thank drivers for their continued patience.

“We are moving ahead despite the recent inclement weather and hope to be able to reopen the road to two way traffic again within a fortnight, weather permitting. The job itself is expected to be completed on time at the end of May”

5,000m3 of material is still to be excavated and 1,800m3 of suitable fill material imported and placed before new kerb and channel and culverts can be installed and the road can be sealed.

“Ultimately the work is being done to enhance the safety of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

“The current roadway is simply not designed to cope safely with the volume of traffic heading to the likes of the camping ground, beach and golf course, who are now also coming into increasing conflict with large trucks as traffic along the beach route continues to increase.

“Addressing the deficiencies in the width, camber, pedestrian access and sighting distances is critical in preventing a potentially serious accident occurring along what is becoming an increasingly well-travelled route.”

Despite any frustrations the Council is asking drivers to please adhere to the temporary 30km/hr speed limit through the construction site, in the interests of worker and motorist safety.

The operators will take down licence plate numbers and report those who fail to slow down to Police.

Anyone with any information regarding the stolen Portable Traffic Signal unit is asked to contact the Amberley Police Station.

Upon completion, the improved section of the road will have a permanently reduced speed limit of 80kph through to Amberley Beach.

For further information contact:

Brian McManus

Roading Team Leader

Hurunui District Council

P: 03 314 8822