Upgrade has begun at intersection
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.
The planned traffic light upgrades for the Gordonton and Thomas Rd intersection.