Gorge stopping bays confusing

LETTER

I have written a number of times previously to the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) that the Waioeka Gorge stopping bays are nothing but downright confusing.

I drive the gorge regularly. On every occasion the stopping bays are unused.

A return trip from and to Gisborne on Thurdsay, 28 December confirmed this with lots of traffic heading here for R&V. None of the cars I saw that were travelling slowly and holding up traffic used these. I estimate I saw over 1000 cars.

When I drove home that afternoon to Gisborne, I encountered a queue of 11 cars that were doing on average 60-70 km. The front car (and all others) were closely bunched so safe overtaking could not be achieved.

This lasted for the duration of the gorge and only one brave driver in desperation started jumping the line, often passing more than two vehicles. Not once did the line of traffic use the stopping bays. Obviously they were not stopping.

That one driver made a few close calls. NZTA have told me previously that these are designed to be a slow vehicle lane as well. So signpost them accordingly! What was obvious being at the tail of the line when the passing lanes up Trafford’s Hill were reached, the slower vehicles used these. Hardly surprising given the signage.

This proved that you may as well close the stopping bays or name them for what they are. All those drivers used the passing bay to allow traffic to pass. None used the stopping bays.

Previously, I have seen and reported to NZTA frustrated drivers passing slow ones using the left stopping bay lane to get past the slow cars. Who in NZTA will take ultimate responsible when an accident happens with this ongoing confusion?

PETER MILLAR

I have written a number of times previously to the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) that the Waioeka Gorge stopping bays are nothing but downright confusing.

I drive the gorge regularly. On every occasion the stopping bays are unused.

A return trip from and to Gisborne on Thurdsay, 28 December confirmed this with lots of traffic heading here for R&V. None of the cars I saw that were travelling slowly and holding up traffic used these. I estimate I saw over 1000 cars.

When I drove home that afternoon to Gisborne, I encountered a queue of 11 cars that were doing on average 60-70 km. The front car (and all others) were closely bunched so safe overtaking could not be achieved.

This lasted for the duration of the gorge and only one brave driver in desperation started jumping the line, often passing more than two vehicles. Not once did the line of traffic use the stopping bays. Obviously they were not stopping.

That one driver made a few close calls. NZTA have told me previously that these are designed to be a slow vehicle lane as well. So signpost them accordingly! What was obvious being at the tail of the line when the passing lanes up Trafford’s Hill were reached, the slower vehicles used these. Hardly surprising given the signage.

This proved that you may as well close the stopping bays or name them for what they are. All those drivers used the passing bay to allow traffic to pass. None used the stopping bays.

Previously, I have seen and reported to NZTA frustrated drivers passing slow ones using the left stopping bay lane to get past the slow cars. Who in NZTA will take ultimate responsible when an accident happens with this ongoing confusion?

PETER MILLAR

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Tony - 8 months ago
I agree Peter. These bays are downright dangerous as indecision and confusion reigns in their use or non-use.

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