Work has begun on resurfacing Rocks Rd which has been the site of many serious cycling accidents over the past several months. Photo: Supplied.

NZTA apologizes for blackspot

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The New Zealand Transport Agency has apologised to all Nelsonians who have crashed after riding through a blackspot on Rocks Rd.

For the past few weeks the Nelson Weekly has highlighted the issue, speaking to various cyclists who have crashed after hitting the puddle of sludge and silt.

Last week the newspaper reported that a 14-year-old girl came away with serious cuts and grazes after riding through it. Three other cyclists have also broken bones with one considering legal action. A police officer also slipped over after he went to help another cyclist who had fallen over in it.

All said there was inadequate signage and it was lucky that they had not been killed by falling into traffic.

“The transport agency apologises to anyone who has had a cycle crash on this area of highway,” said Frank Porter, NZTA system manager.

He confirmed that the slipperiness was due to the concrete road surface and the algal layer which forms between the clay seeping from the cliff face and the road surface. “Despite regular sweepings of the site, this process can occur very fast, hence the recent installation of signs and road cones.”

He said that section of the cycleway was now closed as part of the wider Rocks Rd rebuild project alongside the rebuild of the footpath and seawall damaged in the recent storm surges.

“The new road surface will be asphalt which will not have the same slipperiness issues that occurs with clay on concrete.”

Frank suggested that Waimea Rd would be a safer route for cyclists while the project is underway and other alternate routes for pedestrians should also be considered.

“The road crews will escort pedestrians through this area while the footpath is being rebuilt, however, we encourage people to take an alternative walking route if at all possible.”

Frank said confident cyclists may choose to share the road lane with traffic, which will be reduced to 30 km/ hour while the road is down to one lane.

“We encourage everyone to drive cautiously along Rocks Road while this project is underway, night and day-times, and thank all drivers and cyclists for their patience while we rebuild a much safer road surface for all road users.”