Wairarapa News : February 8th 2012
42 WAIRARAPA NEWS, FEBRUARY 8, 2012 MOTORING Muldoon's Corner - update February 2012 The end is nigh For just over two years Muldoon's Corner has been all about twists and turns on the Rimutaka Hill road, but 2012 sees us on the home straight to the finish. Our contact details For more information 0800 100 082 Helen Pinson Ph: 04 894 5229 Email: email@example.com www.nzta.govt.nz/muldoons-corner The team has been working hard during the past two months with many tasks, such as the retaining walls, stormwater drainage and earthworks nearing 100% completion. Work on the final stages to complete the pavement, or underlying road structure, is underway. A first coat seal has already been laid on some sections of the road with the remainder to be completed during the next few weeks. Meanwhile a sample of the final asphalt surface will be laid on the trig track car park near the top of the project. This will be tested to make sure that it is suitable for the conditions normally experienced in this area. That is, that it can cope with extreme temperatures, the expected tra c flow and the gradients on the hill. Once that is finished, a final asphalt surface will be laid along the entire length of the new road and we'll be done! Cross section If you travel over the hill regularly you may have noticed that the cutting through one of the corners is wider than it is through the others. You can see from the cross section diagram below, that this is because an uphill slow vehicle bay has been included in the design to help keep tra c moving on this steeper section of the road. Also identified on the diagram below (and in the photograph to the left) are the rock-fall channels at the side of the road. These channels will catch small fragments of rock that may break away or 'fritter' from the rock face over time. This means the small stones or debris will be kept o the road and away from tra c until they can be removed. Extended working hours To take advantage of longer, and hopefully drier, summer days we have extended the hours during which single-lane closures may operate. Until the end of February these will be: Monday -- 9am to 8pm Tuesday to Thursday -- 6.30am to 8pm Friday -- 6.30am to 3pm Our tra c controllers will still keep an eye on tra c build up and any delay should be less than five minutes. Just a typical day up on Muldoon's Corner Once the trench is dug, concrete is poured to form the base of the rock-fall channel. Timber shuttering is used as a mould and more concrete is poured to form the sloping side of the channel. A completed section of the concrete rock-fall channel is in the foreground in the photograph on the left. Tra c control, in the form of a two-man stop/go operation, is in place during a single-lane closure to provide a safe working zone. Work is programmed so that a number of activities can be done in the same area at the same time to maximise the benefit of the lane closure. Here you can see abseilers attaching rock-fall protection mesh to the cut hillside, while further along a trench is being excavated along the edge of the new road. 1.5M 1.5M 3.5M TO UPPER HUTT TO WAIRARAPA TO WAIRARAPA 3.5M 4M Rock Rock Slow vehicle bay Rock-fall channel Rock-fall channel Driving tests to be much tougher ' The new test is aimed squarely at raising the standard of driving for young people in order to reduce needless deaths and injuries on our roads. ' NZTA chief executive Geoff Dangerfield The NZ Transport Agency is reminding young drivers that practical driving tests are about to get a lot harder. The NZTA has been working for several months to develop a longer and more challenging restricted driving practical test to improve the safety of young and novice drivers as part of the Govern- ment's Safer Journeys road safety strategy. The new test will come into effect on February 27 -- and the NZTA is reminding young drivers and their parents that a substan- tial amount of supervised practice will be needed to prepare for and pass the harder test. NZTA chief executive Geoff Dangerfield said the more chal- lenging test has been specifically designed to encourage learner drivers to clock up 120 hours of supervised practice before they sit the test. The experience that young drivers gain in the learner licens- ing phase can help protect them once they start to drive alone.'' Research shows that young drivers who complete 120 hours of supervised practice on their learner licence have a solo-driving crash rate 40 per cent lower than those who only complete 50 hours. The new test is aimed squarely at raising the standard of driving for young people in order to reduce needless deaths and injur- ies on our roads.'' Young drivers are most at risk during the first six to 12 months of their restricted licence phase, when they start to drive solo and are four times more likely to crash than learner drivers. Mr Dangerfield said the new restricted test requires a more complex driving environment, including minimum levels of traffic, multiple lanes and merge lanes within a 60 to 80kmh speed zone. The new testing routes have been thoroughly investigated and carefully developed in order to ensure that a consistently high standard is applied across the country.'' Mr Dangerfield said the nature of the more complex and challeng- ing test means that many current test locations will no longer be suitable and practical testing will be discontinued at 36 locations across the country. Overall test capacity will be maintained by increasing testing capacity at the remaining 52 prac- tical testing sites. Learner licence theory testing will continue to be available at all current testing sites. We are very aware that these changes will make it less con- venient for some people to sit their practical tests, particularly in some rural areas and we have not made these decisions lightly. But the reality is that we must raise driving standards if we are to reduce the appalling number of young people killed and injured on our roads every year. And we need a more challeng- ing test to do that.'' NZTA crash statistics show that more than 700 Kiwi teenagers have died in road crashes in the past decade, with an average of one teenager killed on New Zea- land roads every week in recent years. New Zealand has the highest road death rate in the OECD for 16 to17 year olds, and the fourth highest road death rate for 18 to 20 year olds. Road crashes are the single biggest killer of teenagers in New Zealand and our teen crash rates are among the worst in the devel- oped world. That's a situation no-one should accept and New Zealand- ers are looking for decisive action to reduce this needless waste of young life and young potential. Raising the standard of driving required to gain a licence with harder tests is an essential part of the solution.'' Mr Dangerfield said the NZTA was working with the New Zea- land Automobile Association to develop a community-based pro- gramme to help disadvantaged drivers around the country to pre- pare for the new restricted test, helping offset the fact that the new testing regime will require more commitment and more time from young drivers and their fam- ilies. Making the restricted driver licence test more difficult is a key element of the Government's Safer Journeys action plan to improve the safety of young drivers. Other changes introduced last year to increase the minimum driving age to 16 and lower the youth alcohol limit for teen drivers to zero are part of the same package. Further information is avail- able at nzta.govt.nz.
February 1st 2012
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