New traffic lights at one of Hamilton’s busiest intersections have been switched on. Hamilton City Council staff and councillors believe the lights will mitigate safety and congestion issues at the site.
The Thomas Rd/Gordonton Rd intersection has been undergoing upgrade work since late last year and the new lights were activated on Wednesday.
The intersection is used by approximately 16,000 vehicles per day and often becomes heavily congested at peak times resulting in motorists taking unnecessary risks.
“This is one of the city’s busiest intersections and this upgrade will enable the intersection to cope with traffic flows better while also supporting the Council’s Vision Zero aspiration — the philosophy for road safety to achieve zero road deaths and serious injuries within Hamilton,” Hamilton City Council’s City Transportation unit manager Jason Harrison.
The intersection became one of the most dangerous driving spots in Hamilton. There were 15 crashes since January 1 2017, before variable speed signs were installed in October of that year. Despite the speed signs, four more crashes were recorded up until February , according to a NZ Herald story in July last year, which reported an accident in which one person died and others were injured.
In July 2017 councillors Dave Macpherson, James Casson and Mark Bunting put up their own warning sign to slow drivers down.
This week Cr Mark Bunting said safety improvements had been a long process.
“…and at times it has seemed painstakingly slow, but thanks to the great work from the Council staff, NZ Transport Agency and other key stakeholders this major upgrade has been done as fast as possible and I am incredibly grateful for that,” he said.
As well as the traffic lights, other safety measures have also been put in place at the intersection and along the Gordonton Rd corridor including a new 60kmh speed limit and the introduction of raised safety platforms (RSPs) — elevated sections of road intended to reduce vehicle speeds.
Over the next week, installation of the platforms on the intersection approaches will start and traffic lights will begin operating at the intersection. Road users are asked to be careful and patient while everyone gets used to this new change at the intersection.
Some berm work and final road marking will continue after the main work has completed with the site staying controlled through a traffic management plan until Easter.