22 Nov 2012

Riskiest stretch of highway is in Waikato

7:43 pm on 22 November 2012

A notorious stretch of motorway in central Waikato has been highlighted as the country's riskiest highway.

The Transport Agency has assessed the safety of 11,000 kms of state highways, but doesn't include many urban and local roads.

State Highway One from Huntly to Hamilton is the most dangerous highway, with 41 deaths or serious injuries along that road in the past five years, up from 27 the same time five years ago.

The Automobile Association says the infrastructure on the central Waikato road is just not coping.

AA spokesperson Mike Noon says the road needs a lot of work to make it safer.

He says the infrastructure isn't dealing wtih the demands and it needs to be rebuilt.

The Waikato Expressway will help cut the number of crashes but it is not expected to be finished until 2019.

Others on the top 15 list include State Highway One from Warkworth to Wellsford, north of Auckland; and from Paraparaumu to Levin near Wellington; and State Highway 29 through the Kaimai Ranges.

Others on the list are the section of State Highway One that skirts Christchurch - from Belfast Corner (SH74) to south of the airport (SH73) - and State Highway 87 in Dunedin.

Despite this, the Transport Agency says overall the number of crashes in the last five years has dropped by 15%, compared to the previous five-year period.

More than half of the country's road fatalities occur on state highways.