Police targeting roadworks zones

POLICE are renewing calls for drivers to obey roadwork speed limits.

Wellington Highway Patrol’s Sgt Luke Banwell warned police  were patrolling roadworks, and would catch drivers speeding.

“We understand people are inconvenienced, but the safety aspect overrides any inconvenience,” he said.

“We are enforcing roadworks speed limits that are set there to provide a safe environment for workers and drivers.

“I’ve received calls from workers — it’s a common complaint that cars are ignoring speed signs, or the traffic controller.

“If you’re going 80kmh or more it throws up stones, and it’s unsafe for the workers.

“It’s not until you have to work on the road, or stand on the side of the road, as a school crossing guard or anything else, that you appreciate what it’s like to have cars whizzing past.”

Sgt Banwell added there could be significant penalties for  people driving above the posted speed limits.

“If you’re more than 25kmh over the limit, it’s one month licence suspension, a $436 fine, and four demerit points.

“It’s in people’s best interests not to speed,” he said.

“In a roadworks 40kmh zone, you could end up doing 65kmh by accident, and then you’re done, and it’s six months if it’s 75kmh or 80kmh.”

Roadwork contractors apply to VicRoads for speed restrictions, and are then responsible for placing the signs.

The contractors do not decide the speed restrictions, or the distance the restrictions apply to.

During construction, the road conditions can change drastically, with lanes narrowed or closed, unsealed surfaces, and bollards and heavy machinery in unfamiliar places.

This is why the speed restrictions are active at all times, even if there are no workers on site.

“People might be working in one spot during the morning and move in the afternoon — they can’t move the signs,” Sgt Banwell added.

“It’s a matter of patience or penalty.”

The good news is that once construction is complete, roads become safer for all drivers.