Fa­tal crash feared

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By NI­COLA STE­WART

Mata­mata res­i­dents fear the in­ter­sec­tion at Firth St and Farm­ers Rd is a fa­tal accident wait­ing to hap­pen.

Con­fu­sion over give-way rules and a pedes­trian cross­ing lo­cated just me­tres from the ma­jor in­ter­sec­tion are the main con­cerns, par­tic­u­larly in the hours be­fore and af­ter school.

Com­mu­nity board mem­ber Kevin Tap­pin, who lives on Farm­ers Rd, said the spot was not only a dan­ger to pedes­tri­ans but was a ‘‘night­mare’’ for driv­ers.

‘‘We have seen so many nearmisses. The amount of traf­fic at school times with buses, peo­ple pick­ing up their kids, col­lege stu­dents – it’s just in­sane.’’

Over the past 12 months, Mr Tap­pin has fought to see a change to the in­ter­sec­tion and said a round­about or lights would be the most ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion.

Driver con­fu­sion was a ma­jor is­sue, with a stop sign on the west exit from Farm­ers Rd and a give­way sign on the east, he said.

‘‘No one re­ally knows what they are do­ing, es­pe­cially with the changes to the give-way rules. At the very least, both sides should be changed to a give way.’’

Con­ges­tion and a lack of vi­sion were also con­cerns and Mr Tap­pin said th­ese prob­lems were made worse by the po­si­tion of the pedes­trian cross­ing.

Cal­tex man­ager Sally Jenk­ins said she had wit­nessed a few near-misses and mi­nor ac­ci­dents at the in­ter­sec­tion.

‘‘ Some­thing needs to change be­fore there is a ma­jor accident. ’’

Firth St had a con­stant stream of traf­fic, with heavy trucks, buses, tourists and young driv­ers from Mata­mata Col­lege on the road, Ms Jenk­ins said.

‘‘I think a round­about would work. It would slow peo­ple down and help the traf­fic flow to ease up.’’

In a Mata­mata Chron­i­cle poll, 48 per cent of par­tic­i­pants said a round­about should be in­stalled, 40 per cent said lights would be a bet­ter so­lu­tion, and 12 per cent said no change was needed.

Firth St is part of State High­way 27, mean­ing the New Zealand Trans­port Agency would be re­spon­si­ble for any ma­jor changes to the in­ter­sec­tion. The Mata­mata- Pi­ako District Coun­cil is re­spon­si­ble for the pedes­trian cross­ing on Farm­ers Rd.

The coun­cil re­cently in­ves­ti­gated the safety of the cross­ing, with north­bound traf­fic turn­ing left on to Farm­ers Rd a ma­jor con­cern.

But a check of New Zealand Trans­port Agency records be­tween 2006 and 2012 showed no recorded crashes as a re­sult of the pedes­trian cross­ing.

Coun­cil staff have rec­om­mended that more signs be in­stalled on Firth St, warn­ing driv­ers turn­ing left to be aware of the cross­ing.

The signs would cost $550 and would be paid for by the agency.

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