Motorist drives through Northland roadworks, forcing workers to jump to safety

Drivers on state highways in Northland are advised to be patient around roadworks and to follow directions by those undertaking them for the safety of all road users.

The advice followed an incident on State Highway 1 in Towai, north of Whangārei, where four road workers were forced to take evasive action after an impatient driver sped off through cones and a worksite.

Fulton Hogan workers were contracted by the New Zealand Transport Agency to fix a guard rail that had been crashed into and a stop/go sign was in place about 9pm on Monday.

Police have confirmed receiving a report about the behaviour and no arrests have been made or charges laid at this stage.

Fulton Hogan stakeholder manager Astrid Fisher said when the person operating the stop/go sign signalled the green light, a female driver became impatient at the slow traffic movement, beeped the horn, and revved up the engine.

“She left the lane she was in, knocked the cones over and drove through the worksite, narrowly missing the four workers. That’s four families that could very well have gone through Christmas without their loved ones.”

Fisher said the workers had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit.

The driver did not stop.

Fisher was not sure which way the driver was heading.

“The vulnerability of workers is huge. Measures at roadworks are put in place to keep them and other road users safe and we’d advise drivers to be calm, expect delays, and be patient.”

Fisher said while Fulton Hogan roading workers would not be doing planned maintenance over the festive season, they would attend to any emergencies such as slips and crashes.

There have been similar incidents in the past across Northland, and Fisher said with more traffic on the road until after the New Year, motorists should be considerate of each other.

NZTA has also advised all motorists, whether they are heading north or south, to adhere to signs on the state highway network, including temporary speed limits through worksites.

“These speed reductions are in place to keep motorists safe, as some of our roads are currently undergoing pavement and asphalting works, so drivers may not be used to the road conditions in these areas.”

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