Nikki Preston

Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

'Wait and see approach' on left turn rule

Changes will be made to about 500 of Hamilton's 15,000 intersections before March 25. Photo / APN
Changes will be made to about 500 of Hamilton's 15,000 intersections before March 25. Photo / APN

The Waikato is taking a "wait and see" approach as motorists brace themselves for the change to the 35-year-old left-turning traffic rule.

Auckland Council this week announced plans to make changes to about 500 of the city's 15,000 intersections before the reversal of the right-hand turning rule on March 25 - while Hamilton City Council is going to see what happens before taking any action.

Under the new rule, vehicles turning right at intersections will have to give way to those turning left.

The council has surveyed the city's 60 signalled intersections and hundreds of non-signalled intersections and has decided to monitor the impact before making changes. About 20 intersections that are not signalled have been identified as being problematic if right-hand turning cars are backed up in the middle of a road while they wait.

A similar approach is being taken by the New Zealand Transport Agency's (NZTA) at the intersections of the Waikato and Bay of Plenty state highways.

Hamilton City Council city infrastructure general manager Chris Allen expected any changes required would be minimal and the biggest problem would be increased congestion.

NZTA Waikato/Bay of Plenty state highways manager Kaye Clark said the intersections across the two regions, which span across 2600km of road, had been inspected and did not require works before the change.

Ms Clark said the agency supported any council which wanted to follow Auckland Transport's lead of running campaigns.

Hamilton City Council is planning a more modest $5000 campaign than Auckland Council's $76,000 publicity drive comprising a leaflet drop to 1.73 million households and video updates on the giveway.govt.nz website.

Hamilton plans a 10-day newspaper and radio campaign at a cost of $5000 targeting specific concerns.

The campaign will coincide with the NZTA's $1.2 million national campaign kicking off a week-and-a-half before the new rule is introduced.

- NZ Herald

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