TODAY |

Hastings mayor calls for NZTA to step up and fix State Highway 5 as fatal crashes climb

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst has given NZTA a stern warning: stump up and fix our state highway before more people die.

A heat map of serious and fatal crashes, left, on the Napier-Taupo Road, pictured on the right at Te Pohue. Source: Supplied/Google Streetview

In a release today, Ms Hazlehurst demanded answers from the New Zealand Transport Agency on why State Highway 5's potholes, dodgy patches and other flaws haven't been fixed.

Ms Hazlehurst said about 3000 vehicles a day use the road, with 15 per cent of those being heavy vehicles, and eight people have died on the road in the past 12 months.

Many of the accidents, both fatal and non-fatal, have taken place at notoriously dagerous spots, including Rangitaiki, Te Hāroto and Te Pōhue.

There have been more than 250 crashes reported on the road between Eskdale and Tarawera since 2014.

"I am getting multiple calls a day from concerned residents and community members who are extremely frustrated and scared - they don’t know what else to do other than call the mayor," Ms Hazlehurst said.

"I have spoken to the chair of the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and our regional NZTA representatives, but nothing has changed.

"Doing nothing about State Highway 5 is no longer an option - our community needs to be heard."

Local resident Dan Gale, who lives and works on the Napier-Taupō road, said he is appalled at the state of the road.

"The road is at its worse from Eskdale to the summit. In parts the entire northbound lanes' surface is breaking up - it is riddled with pot holes," Mr Gale said.

"A lot of the damage is on corners with no signs warning of the damage to the road, so I'm not surprised people are being caught out.

"It irks me that the Government is spending millions of dollars installing wire rope barriers on straight pieces of highway, when they can't even get the basics of having a good quality road surface on this state highway right.

"I hope they take action soon and repair it to a decent standard so we stop hearing the emergency services go past so often."