Earlier this week a group of sleep deprived Kāpiti residents erected some signs on the expressway to encourage heavy vehicle drivers to drive more quietly through the residential area.
The ‘please no engine braking’ sign was a copy of the standard NZTA sign.
“We are becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of communication and action by NZTA,” said group spokesperson, Nick Fisher. “The noise levels are not decreasing, and all NZTA seem to be doing is monitoring. Banning engine braking by heavy vehicles (a.k.a. Jake brakes and exhaust brakes) is such an easy start, but obviously NZTA need help to do this.”
NZTA expert evidence at the Board of Inquiry stated that signage was the best way to mitigate the noise from auxiliary brakes:
135 There are very limited mitigation options that can be applied to the issue of engine braking, the most obvious being the installation of “Engine Brake Restriction” signs. In my opinion, these signs would be a suitable and effective mitigation and management measure for dealing with the noise from engine braking.
The Board, in its decision, stated:
519 .we encourage NZTA to do so wherever this is practical, although we acknowledge that as a responsible roading authority, NZTA is unlikely to require such a direction.
“Now NZTA are telling the media that they are not allowed to erect signs as it is a 100km/hr area. Why did they mislead the Board of Inquiry. Why have these signs been erected on the 100km/hr Hawkes Bay Expressway,” asked Mr Fisher.
“What is really needed is a commitment from NZTA to finish the expressway, and not to pass on the costs, such as health and quality of life, to the residents. We need more and higher earth bunds, and more and higher walls.
“NZTA have stolen our precious silence. We want it back.”