Kapiti Coast residents sick of losing sleep because of noise from the area’s new expressway have resorted to putting up fake road signs telling truck drivers not to use air brakes.
The group of residents say they tried to complain to the NZ Transport Agency about the noise but have been “fobbed off”.
Spokesman Nick Fisher said many in the area have not been able to sleep through the night due to “thundering” noise from trucks using their brakes on downhill sections since the highway opened in February.
The “Kapiti expressway” runs from McKays Crossing to Peka Peka, north of Wellington.
Mr Fisher said experts had told the NZTA that signs would be the best way to mitigate the noise prior to construction.
“It’s pretty clear they should be putting up signs. They’ve haven’t done, so we have.”
The Transport Agency says the fake signs which used fonts and wording from NZTA’s website were removed on Friday.
Senior project delivery manager Chris Hunt said the NZTA had brought up its scheduled noise monitoring work in the area in response to concerns.
But he said legally the NZTA could not prohibit engine braking on roads with speed limits faster than 70kph.
Section 22AB(e) of the Land Transport Act says authority can make a bylaw “prohibiting or restricting engine braking in any area where the permanent speed limit does not exceed 70kph”.
“Engine brakes are a key safety feature for heavy vehicles, in particular in high-speed environments,” Mr Hunt said.
Advisory signs telling drivers to try to avoid using the brakes could be put in and the agency would be monitoring the best place for those from next week, he said.
Mr Fisher said the Hawke’s Bay Expressway featured the exact signs he had put up in areas with 100kph speed zones, and called the bylaw claim “misleading”.
More monitoring was of little comfort, he said.
“They don’t need to put up monitoring cameras. It is noisy,” he said.
He had four more signs printed and ready to be put up, and said residents would also consider putting up a symbolic wall if it meant getting more attention for the issue. NZN