Two people have died after a two-vehicle crash in Sefton, Canterbury, this morning.

Emergency services were called to the crash on Main North Rd around 10am. A helicopter was sent to the scene.

“Police can confirm two people have died,” a spokesperson said.

“Two people in one vehicle died at the scene, while a third person in that vehicle was moderately injured.

“Two people in the second vehicle received moderate to serious injuries.”

Part of the road is closed, with motorists asked to avoid the area. Diversions are in place at Wyllies and Amesbury roads.

The serious crash unit has been advised.

Waimakariri District Mayor Dan Gordon urged motorists, in a statement, to take extra care.

“A death on our roads at any time of year is devastating, but that feeling of loss is potentially even greater as many of us are still in the holiday season,” he said

“My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the families and friends of those who died in the road accident in Sefton this morning.

Gordon also acknowledged the dedicated work of the emergency services personnel in our district “who attended this tragic scene”.

“Please take extra care out there.”

NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi says safety improvements are planned to reduce crashes on the stretch of SH1, including widening the road and installing median barriers.

The agency points out on the project website that the 11.4km stretch of SH1 between Saltwater Creek and the Cam River has been assessed as a high-risk section of highway, with high traffic volumes and speeds combining in some areas.

Five people were killed and 30 seriously injured in the 75 recorded crashes on the stretch of road between 2011 and 2020, many caused by head-on crashes.

Waka Kotahi said it can’t “remove every hazard [but] we can put in place effective measures that will make SH1 in North Canterbury safer for everyone who uses the road”.

These would include wide centrelines, flexible median safety barriers, and improvements at intersections such as traffic lights, roundabouts or left-in/left-out access to the highway.