Drink driver bowls over roadwork cones

By Kelly Makiha, Gary Hamilton-Irvine

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An alleged drink driver was lucky to not have killed someone or himself after weaving down Rotorua's Lake Rd knocking over roadwork cones.

The man was spotted by a police officer on Christmas Day after it was noticed the driver had no ability to negotiate the cones in place for the extensive roadworks in the area.

Senior Sergeant Denton Grimes of the Rotorua police said the police officer quickly pulled over the driver before he could do any serious damage.

"The driver was trying to negotiate the cones on Lake Rd and hit just about every one,'' Mr Grimes said.

The man was breath tested and blew 999 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. The legal limit is 400mcg. Mr Grimes said the man would appear in the Rotorua District Court early next month.

However, Mr Grimes said despite the arrest, drivers had so far been really well behaved on the roads.

He said police had only stopped four drink drivers over the three-day period between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

"In general Rotorua police are pleased with the behaviour of drivers so far this holiday period. There have been no major crashes reported and four drivers have been processed for drink driving.''

Mr Grimes said police would be out in force with plenty of checkpoints during the coming days as people celebrated the new year.

"Drivers need to continue to drive to the conditions, reduce their speed, be patient and take regular breaks on long trips. Road safety is a shared responsibility. We all need to change the way we think and act on the roads. It's about making the right choices and travelling on our  roads safely.''

Meanwhile, Lake Rd Gull Station owner Glenys Rigby said she was noticing more than just lost revenue from the extensive roadworks and cones.

"The road is too skinny,'' Mrs Rigby said.

"We had a bus driver through here the other day who said he thought he was going to take out all the cones on his way through.

"When customers do come in they often get stuck and it is hard for them to get back out again.''

She said they were fed up with the roadworks which, by the time they are completed in April, would have taken 18 months to finish.

"How do the council expect us to survive?''

Mrs Rigby said they were forced to sell their other Gull station, on Te Ngae Rd, to keep them afloat.

Cleveland Motel owner Brij Gurm said they were down about $100,000 in lost revenue this year.

He said he knew businesses would need to ride it out but he was frustrated with the way road workers frequently blocked the front of his motel with their equipment. "I've had local tradesmen, who know where we are, tell me how hard it was to find the entrance to the motel,'' he said.

"If locals can't find it then how can we expect tourists to find it?''

 

- Rotorua Daily Post

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