Up­grade has be­gun at in­ter­sec­tion

Hamilton News - - NEWS - Tom Row­land

A no­to­ri­ous Hamil­ton in­ter­sec­tion will un­dergo up­grades from the start of Oc­to­ber with traf­fic lights be­ing in­stalled to be fin­ished by Christ­mas.

The Thomas and Gor­don­ton Rd in­ter­sec­tion has been the sub­ject of pub­lic out­cry after a num­ber crashes, in­clud­ing the lat­est fa­tal­ity in July. The site is listed at 18th on a na­tional list of high risk in­ter­sec­tions.

In con­junc­tion with the in­ter­sec­tion up­grade Hamil­ton City Coun­cil is propos­ing a per­ma­nent re­duc­tion in the speed limit along the Gor­don­ton Road cor­ri­dor to 60km/hr for safety. This is be­ing pro­gressed as a par­al­lel process as part of a new speed limit by­law.

The up­grades in­cludes new traf­fic is­lands to sep­a­rate ve­hi­cle turn­ing lanes, with traf­fic lights to al­low traf­fic a safe exit from Thomas Rd.

On Tues­day, the coun­cil growth and in­fra­struc­ture meet­ing ap­proved a lease from CDL Land New Zealand Lim­ited to pro­vide ve­hi­cle ac­cess to 202 Gor­don­ton Road, with the cur­rent drive­way closed due to the up­grades.

At the same meet­ing, the coun­cil heard from the NZ Trans­port Agency Safety and En­vi­ron­ment Di­rec­tor Harry Wilson about safety on the roads.

He said on av­er­age seven peo­ple die on New Zealand roads a week, while 54 peo­ple are in­jured.

“The num­bers are go­ing the wrong way — 380 deaths last year and the trend is look­ing to ex­ceed 400 this year,” Mr Wilson said.

“Fifty per cent of the road toll in any one year is be­cause of an or­di­nary driver, who makes a sim­ple mis­take. It can be bizarre as some­one drop­ping a hot pie on their lap.”

He also said that one of the largest prob­lems was New Zealand’s car fleet’s age.

“The used car area is the big­gest prob­lem for New Zealand,” he said.

He said cars that are val­ue­less in Ja­pan are im­ported at a cost of $500 and re­tailed at $5000.

“We have more older cars com­ing in, and 50 per cent of the deaths and se­ri­ous injuries in the last five years are of cars older than 15 years. Twenty-six per cent of deaths and se­ri­ous injuries are our youngest driv­ers, it cre­ates the per­fect storm.

“We are putting our youngest driv­ers in our old­est cars.”

There have been four fa­tal­i­ties on Hamil­ton roads this year in­clud­ing a crash at the Gor­don­ton and Thomas Rd in­ter­sec­tion where 23-year-old Jay­den Peter Bran­iff was killed in July. The cause of the crash is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Im­age / Hamil­ton City Coun­cil

The planned traf­fic light up­grades for the Gor­don­ton and Thomas Rd in­ter­sec­tion.

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